A Community’s Perspectives of Wild Pigs (Sus scrofa) – Is the Harvest of Wild Pigs a Potential Threat or Benefit to Conservation?
Wild pigs (Sus scrofa) are recognised on a global scale as a tantalising and delicious food source. But, they are also a major pest species and cause millions of dollars of destruction each year. Due to their negative effects on biodiversity, Regional Councils and Governing Bodies in New Zealand seek to control pig numbers. Nevertheless, stakeholder views and values have not been considered in the management process. Therefore, leaving local and national officials open for criticism and strong opposition from other stakeholders. The aim of this study is to provide the first insight into a community’s values to determine whether the harvest of wild pigs would be a potential threat or benefit to conservation. A series of semi-structured interviews was conducted with notable individuals from different stakeholder groups and their views and their values collected and analysed against the research objectives. There are several responses affirming or denying whether the harvest of wild pigs would potentially be a threat or a benefit to conservation. However, whilst the benefits (social, cultural, environmental, economic) for and against wild pigs in the environment are wide ranging, all stakeholders (Government, Iwi, Agencies, NGO’s, and the public) must express their views and reach a collective agreement to guide future wild pig management.