What's a Judas pig survey?


Judas pig survey

OSPRI uses many tools to determine where to focus its pest control efforts. A Judas pig survey is one such tool. This survey took place around Cardrona Valley in 2013. A Judas pig survey involves catching wild pigs and fitting them with transmitters.

Why pigs?

Pigs only pick TRB from scavenging on infected animals such as possums and don’t pass the disease to other pigs or animals. This means they can’t maintain TB in their own population without an external source. Because of this, pigs are very good indicators of infected wildlife in the area.

OSPRI uses this information to determine where to focus its pest control efforts. The caught pigs are fitted with transmitters.

Pigs are social animals and will always find other pigs to hang out with.

The tracked pigs are then found, and their friends shot and recovered for necropsy.

The Judas pig is let go so it can find a new group of pigs to befriend.

The pigs are tagged, the GPS coordinates are recorded, and necropsies are performed to check for signs of TB.

TB was not found in the 200 pigs captured as part of this operation. This supports OSPRI’s belief that TB eradication in this area may be closer than originally thought.

Thanks to Robert Andrews and Michael Hutton for the footage; music by Bensound.

Sometimes the pigs fight back.

(Video ends with footage of a pig fighting back.)