‘Feral Swine Bomb’: Rising Populations of Wild Hogs Cause Concern in Experts
OutdoorHub Editor: Keenan Crow 09.25.20
The number of wild pigs in the United States continues to increase rapidly every day, and experts are now describing the seemingly out of control situation as a “ticking feral swine bomb.”
You don’t have to tell anybody who lives in Texas about the damages these feral swine cause, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture has estimated they are responsible for around $2.5 billion in damages EACH YEAR. With their numbers soaring in rampant fashion, and the emergence of “super pigs” – pigs that have adopted the ability to reproduce piglets at a younger age – the damages are only going to get worse.
If that’s not enough, wild pigs have now expanded their range from 17 states to at least 39 over the last three decades, The Atlantic reports.
“I’ve heard it referred to as a feral swine bomb,” says Dale Nolte, manager of the National Feral Swine Damage Management Program at the USDA. “They multiply so rapidly. To go from a thousand to two thousand, it’s not a big deal. But if you’ve got a million, it doesn’t take long to get to 4 million, then 8 million..”
Ryan Brook, a University of Saskatchewan biologist who studies wild pigs said most of them are a mix between domestic breeds and European wild boar. Yikes!
“The problem with the hybrids is you get all of the massive benefits of all of that genetics,” Brook told the paper. “It creates what we’d call super-pigs.”
Due to their genetics and rapidly spreading population, it is currently estimated there are more than 1.5 million feral hogs in Texas, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife. Florida has more than 500,000 wild pigs and there are estimated to be between one to two million in the southeastern U.S., the University of Florida reported. California is another state that has a very large population of wild pigs running around.
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Anyone who has lived in the south east is intimately familiar with the damage that can be caused by these invasive monsters. They are essentially a 300 pound rat. The sows can start giving birth 6 months after being born. The gestation period is only 115 days. They can reproduce three times a year with a litter size of up to 12 piglets. Currently it is estimated that they do around $2 billion in damage to agriculture…. it was under $100 millions 5 years ago. It is really bad right now. It is about to get way worse. #feralpigs #wildhogs #feralhogs #hunt #conservation #hunting