Auckland Island Pigs Held in Quarantine

5 October 1999

Rare Auckland Island pigs will remain in quarantine in Invercargill until the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the Rare Breeds Conservation Society finalise a plan that will allow them to be released while managing any potential disease risks.

The details are still being worked out, and MAF will consult interested stakeholders such as the New Zealand pork industry, Department of Conservation (DoC), and the Ministry of Health before giving approval.

In January this year, the Rare Breeds Conservation Society moved 17 pigs from the Auckland Islands to mainland New Zealand under a disease risk management regime developed by MAF.

The pigs were moved off the island in order to preserve the breed, so DoC could restore the islands to their pristine natural state.

MAF consulted interested stakeholders last December during the development of the proposal, which presented challenges because of the lack of information on the health status of the pigs.

Although isolated on the Auckland Island from other pigs for over 100 years, the risks identified included their unknown original health status, and the other potential pathways for disease introduction into the population, such as humans taking food to the islands, or infection from other animals.

The pigs were placed in quarantine upon arrival in Invercargill and subjected to an agreed testing and treatment regime for a number of diseases. Tests results indicated the population may be infected with trichinella and salmonella. These diseases are identified by the New Zealand pork industry as a threat.

MAF and the Rare Breeds Conservation Society are therefore currently working through plans that will allow the breed to be preserved without endangering the health status of the pork industry. Neither disease is likely to transmit vertically (i.e. from boar or sow to piglet prior to birth), and so progeny of the quarantined pigs would be able to be safely released.

The pigs will remain in quarantine until plans are finalised

Media contacts:

Matthew Stone, Animal Biosecurity, MAF Biosecurity Authority: N/A84
Michael Willis, Rare Breeds Conservation Society: 03-359-6226
Brian Milne: New Zealand Pork Industry Board: 04-385-4229



Last Updated: 20 September 2010

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