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USDA Announces National Feral Swine Control


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Feral swine, like this one in Florida, have expanded from 17 to 39 states in the past 30 years and are one of the most economically destructive invaders a state can have, according to USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Undersecretary Edward Avalos. (Credit: Steve Hillebrand, FWS)
Early this month the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced plans for a national effort to control and minimize damage from feral swine. APHIS is allocating $20 million for the program to assist states in feral swine management and help mitigate the $1.5 billion in costs for control and damages caused by this invasive species.

Feral swine pose a serious risk to human, wildlife, and livestock health and can negatively impact habitat and water quality. They have been found to carry 30 different diseases and 37 parasites, can ravage high-value crops, and compete with native wildlife for resources. Swine have been especially successful in invading multiple states because of their ability to reproduce quickly, averaging 1.5 litters a year and five to six piglets per litter after reaching sexual maturity at six to eight months of age.

The APHIS control program, which follows a pilot study that was successful in eliminating feral swine from 5.3 million acres of land in New Mexico, is scheduled to begin operation within the next six months. Goals of the program include the elimination of feral swine from two states every three to five years and stabilization of damage costs within 10 years. Funds will be divided to include $9.5 million for state projects, $1.4 million for disease monitoring and development of vaccines, and $1.5 million for research to improve control procedures. Wildlife Services will head the effort and work with state and tribal governments to tailor management in respective areas.

Sources: USDA APHIS Newsroom (April 2, 2014), E&E News (April 3, 2014)

 

This article was automatically imported from The Wildlife Society's policy news feed.

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I don't normally post articles that aren't directly about bird conservation, but with the negative impacts of feral hogs on all kinds of ecosystems, I thought this seemed like important news.  Maybe somebody reading this has more first-hand knowledge of whether this new (?) effort is likely to yield real results?

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