What is in this article?:
- Feral pig problem intensifies, experts unite to wage war
- Big problem worldwide
- The cost of feral swine damage
• Many states are struggling with the rampant spread of feral hog-related problems and a few are considering drastic measures to control an escalating problem that threatens to bring serious economic hardships, a potential for uncontrolled spread of animal diseases and even a threat to human safety.
Big problem worldwide
The problem may be bigger than anyone imagined. While the U.S. struggles with a feral hog issue, around the globe the problem also continues to grow with some nations using extensive control methods once considered far too radical for domestic use.
For example, Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan are using toxicants to control wild herds of swine. Chemical control includes the use of warfarin (Australia), cyanide and cholecalciferol (New Zealand) and zinc phosphide (Pakistan).
While most consider toxicants too risky in the U.S., opinion may slowly be changing as ramped up efforts to control feral hog problems domestically through hunting and trapping methods are being countered by the apparent resiliency of the species to survive even human intervention.
Free-ranging populations of feral swine in the U.S. are located in at least 35 states. Some experts estimate their numbers at more than 5 million, with the largest populations located in California, Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas.
This species causes extensive damage to public property and disease threats to native ecosystems, livestock, and humans. Feral swine populations are expected to spread across the country as a result of natural range expansion, illegal trapping and movement by hunters, and accidental releases from domestic swine operations.
The expanding populations of feral swine are a significant concern to farmers, livestock producers, natural resource managers, and animal health officials. However, feral swine issues are not limited to natural areas and rural environments. Feral swine are highly adaptable and are becoming more common in suburban areas, rooting up lawns, gardens, golf courses, and city parks.