Pilot project aims to eradicate feral hogs

05/01/2013 12:21:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

feral hogsCourtesy U.S. Department of AgricultureNon-native feral hogs are a cross between domestic swine introduced by Spanish explorers in the 1500s and the Eurasian boar.Feral hogs are the bulldozers of the animal world, ripping through fields and orchards and spreading disease.

Sometimes called the "rototillers of nature," feral hogs are found in at least 35 states and cause an estimated $1.5 billion in damage and control costs annually, according to a news release.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services is beginning a pilot project in New Mexico to try to eradicate the hoofed pests.

The state's unique geography, which separates the swine population, is hoped to aid the effort.

The project also should yield information to help guide feral swine control efforts in other states. 

Feral hogs not only eat and destroy agricultural crops, but they also can contaminate fields destined for harvest, root and wallow in waterways, and destroy property and fencing.

Even if you're outside of New Mexico, Wildlife Services has provided these tips to help either prevent or control feral swine infestations.

• Report feral swine activity to the proper state wildlife and agricultural officials.

• Don't relocate feral swine without the proper permits.

• If you raise domestic hogs, take steps to ensure they don't escape or interact with the wild population. Feral hogs can carry or transmit 30 diseases and 37 parasites, according to the release.

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