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.
The cost of feral swine damage
It is estimated that feral swine in the U.S. cause more than $1 billion in damages and control costs each year. For example, rooting and wallowing activities cause property damage and erosion to river banks.
Feral swine eat and destroy field crops such as corn, milo, rice, watermelon, spinach, peanuts, hay, turf, and wheat. They are also efficient predators and, when given the opportunity, prey upon young livestock and other small animals, such as ground-nesting birds.
In addition, their rooting activities allow invasive plants to re-vegetate damaged areas, reducing native plants and grasses. Their wallowing activities can contaminate water supplies and affect water quality.
These animals have also been known to destroy livestock and game fences and consume livestock feed, minerals, and protein supplements.
Though a rare occurrence, feral swine can directly infect people with diseases. For example, brucellosis (or undulant fever) can be transmitted to people when blood or other body fluid from an infected animal comes into contact with a person’s eyes, nose, mouth, or an open wound.
Feral swine can also carry harmful organisms and diseases such as toxoplasmosis, tularemia, trichinellosis, swine influenza, salmonella,E. coli, and a variety of bacterial diseases that can cause sickness and, in some cases, death to people who consume contaminated food products.
Pseudorabies can be transmitted from feral swine to some pets, such as dogs and cats, as well as cattle, sheep, and goats. Signs of illness include intense itching often followed by paralysis and death.