Feral Pigs Invade New Zealand’s Capital City: ‘It’s a Murder Scene’

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by: Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Feral pigs have become an increasingly unsettling problem in New Zealand’s capital, where a suburb has dealt with the unwanted hogs’ advances. Reportedly, according to The Guardian, the pigs have been “killing kid goats at an urban farm, intimidating dogs and turning up in residents’ gardens.”

Owners of a goat milk farm in the suburb of Brooklyn (about 10 minutes from Wellington), has lost tons of kid goats to the pigs recently: a total of 60 goats have been slaughtered.

They report that oftentimes, not much is left of the goats other than a mess of bones.

“It’s a murder scene,” said Naomi Steenkamp, the farm’s co-owner. “If they find something they like eating, and it is a free feed – like a newborn kid – they are going to keep coming back.”

Wellington City Council confirmed that the feral pig population in the suburb of Brooklyn has gotten worse recently. Brooklyn lies in front of farmland and many forested areas where the feral pigs live.

New Zealand’s feral pig population dates back to the colonial era. However, now they live in roughly a third of the country. They often damage native ecosystems and pastures. They’re known to kill newborn animals frequently, and they also carry bovine diseases.

Last month, Steenkamp’s husband, Frans, shot and killed a boar. The 265-lb boar had broken through their fence and reached twenty yards of their house. The couple reports it’s the biggest animal they’ve encountered in their time farming.

City Council Spokesperson Speaks About Feral Pigs

“You do wonder if it is a ticking time bomb,” she said. She started posting photos about the experience online. After that, many users in the area shared similar stories with her.

“It was crazy how many people came out of the woodwork saying that they had pigs in their garden, pigs bailing up their dogs,” she said. “One guy was feeding them and thought it was pretty cool, until it charged him.”

Steenkamp wants to see the issue resolved so the native plants can start to recover.

“I want kiwi in my backyard eventually …but we need to get on top of pigs,” she said. “It is an isolated pocket that has got out of control.”

Authorities say honing in on a specific number of the feral pigs was difficult. However, they admit that “there has clearly been an upsurge,” according to Richard Maclean, the council’s spokesperson.

“Given that we’re now getting complaints about pigs appearing in backyards, that gives an indication that the population must be burgeoning,” he said.

“People tend to think of Wellington city as this pristine place where you couldn’t possibly have pigs or goats,” Maclean said. However, the animals have definitely made an unwelcome home in the area.

The council reportedly contracts a hunter to regularly kill the pests around Brooklyn. However, the problem remains difficult to resolve.