Monday, February 09, 2009

Oregon goes to war against destructive feral swine

"Scientists call them feral; hunters call them wild," reports Camilla Mortensen of the Eugene Weekly. "Call them swine, hogs, pigs or boars, call them what you want, but Oregon calls them an invasive species and has come up with a 'Feral Swine Action Plan' to get rid of the porky pests." With $800 million a year in looses to U.S. agriculture with their rooting and eating feral pigs are one of the costliest invasive species out there. (Eugene Weekly photo)

Currently the feral pig population in Oregon is estimated to be between 1,000 and 2,000, but scientists fear that the population could spike quickly since the pigs can breed before they are a year old, have two litters a year, and each litter usually contains between 5 and 12 piglets.

Aside from their threat to crops, feral pigs threaten livestock, wildlife and humans. "They can carry pseudorabies, swine brucellosis and foot and mouth disease," writes Mortensen. "They can transmit to humans a whole host of vile sounding illnesses: brucellosis, balantidiasis, leptospirosis, salmnellosis, toxoplasmosis, trichinosis, trichostrongylosis, tuberculosis, tularemia, anthrax, rabies and plague."

Efforts to control the population are proving difficult since many of the animals are on private land where state officials can not hunt them. "Data in Oregon’s Feral Swine Action Plan says that most of the pigs were killed by hunters on private land," adds Mortensen. The idea of sponsoring feral pig hunts in Oregon is gaining popularity since it would not only reduce the pig population but help the state's economy. (Read more)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OREGON FIELD GUIDE (OPB-TV) will be airing a story about feral swine next Thursday (February 19th) as part of their ongoing reporting on invasive species in Oregon. Oregon Field Guide airs at 8.30pm on whatever channel you get OPB on.

They have an invasive species website that went along with their documentary about invasive species called The Silent Invasion: