What is in this article?:
• In Texas, and other states plagued the most by large feral swine populations, notably California and Florida, millions in public and private funds have been spent through the years in an effort to manage the problem.
• But as the problem escalates, so does the need for greater resources to fight them.
FERAL HOGS are causing heavy damage to Southwest cropland and pastures.
The New Mexico initiative
While USDA has been active in monitoring and working with states to help control feral swine populations, until now an all out federal effort to eradicate feral swine hasn’t been launched, and for good reason. The cost of attempting to eradicate the estimated two million feral swine in Texas, for example, would require a massive budget, larger perhaps than the entire budget for the State Department of Agriculture, and even then success would be difficult if not impossible given the numbers.
But that may not be true in New Mexico where feral swine are a relatively small though escalating problem. Population numbers are low, though growing rapidly.
“We think we have a pretty good shot at eradication of the feral swine population of New Mexico, says Alan May, State Director for USDA Wildlife Services in Albuquerque. “We don’t have the large numbers they do in Texas. “If we act early, we think we may be able to prevent an awfully lot of economic, environmental and public health problems associated with feral swine.”
May said that while eradication efforts would be concentrated to three specific areas where feral swine populations are the greatest, the undertaking of a comprehensive program involving trapping and hunting feral swine is a massive undertaking and would require local, state and federal participation.
After talking with various officials and private property owners in the three designated areas where swine problems are developing, officials representing the Mescalero Apache Indian Tribe and the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, and various state and county officials petitioned USDA Under Secretary Edward Avalos for federal support of an initiative to declare war against the wild pig population of the state.