Wanted, dead or live: feral pigs

feral pigInteresting story in the New York Times this weekend about a population of feral pigs in the Champlain Valley, about 150 miles north of Albany. DEC officials are worried the population will permanently establish itself, spread, and threaten farms and Adirondack habitats:

Perhaps most worrisome is their reputation as eating machines: the pigs devour ground-nesting birds and reptiles, fawns and domestic livestock, native vegetation and crops. Feral pigs have already proliferated in parts of western New York. But state officials are drawing a line in the topsoil, so to speak, determined to protect both the agrarian economy and the fragile ecosystem from the nascent herd -- or "sounder" in swine-speak -- in the town of Peru.
"There's a real sense of urgency," said Ed Reed, a wildlife biologist for the state's Department of Environmental Conservation. "Once the pigs get established, they are very difficult to eradicate completely."

And what are they using to lure the pigs into traps: Jello-laced donuts.

The DEC says "people with a small game license may shoot and keep feral swine at any time and in any number." The resulting pork is said to be rather tasty -- although in some cases apparently there isn't enough sage to cover up the stink.

Feral pig populations are widespread in the South and California -- causing so many problems, in such great numbers, that as an official remarked: "With over 2 million hogs in Texas, we're not going to barbecue our way out of this problem." The animals reportedly cause $400 million in damage there each year and people have resorted to shooting them from helicopters.

photo: NYS DEC

Comments

This is our zombie apocalypse?

This shares a geographic similarity to the herds of feral hamsters in Infinite Jest

So is there a difference between 'wild boar' and 'feral pig'? Do we have native wild boar in the area, or are they all feral / intrusive?

They're Sus scrofa, which yes is also called "wild boar", more commonly "razorback" in the US. There are many subspecies, no idea which particular one is in New York (or in other areas of the US). So while you can call them "wild boar", they might not be the exact same animal that term conjures in your mind.

The DEC link uses "feral pig" to refer to wild swine or domestic pigs that returned to the wild; domestic pigs are also sus scrofa but again, there are lots of subspecies and those cute little farm piggies are usually called domestica, IIRC. The two are close enough that they can interbreed (with, I believe, viable offspring).

Unless gray wolves make a reintroduction to New York, adult wild swine have no natural predators in the area. This is... kind of a problem. There have been lots of sausage making classes offered lately though, so maybe the folks who enjoyed those would also enjoy a hunting license.

Instead of calling them Feral Swine, call them Free Bacon.

The Adirondack version of the reality show would be sooooo different than the Texas version:
http://www.aetv.com/american-hoggers/

Also @FreeBacon made me LOL!

(Thanks for all that info B.)

I'm all for gray wolves and free bacon.

In some parts of the world businesses "pop up" catering to people who want to hunt (suddenly numerous and problematic) animals. Like feral pigs. If you know what I'm saying.

Don't thank me too much, half of that was remembered and the other half was google.

Feral pigs are a big problem for bird populations, especially ground-nesting birds including the Spruce Grouse which is on the NYS endangered list (and are awesome to hear when hiking). Between human development, invasive species, and global warming, a lot of our native wildlife is in real danger.

I am all in favor of feral pig showing up on my table but unfortunately that's not going to solve the problem.

> The DEC link uses "feral pig" to refer to wild swine or
> domestic pigs that returned to the wild;

And if I recall the "Swine and Dine" lecture during the Tree of Life series at the NYS Museum, this happens rather quickly, which is a bit frightening.

Wild boar is actually really delicious, not that easy to find in restaurants around here. You do need some serious bullets to take a big one down, though. Then again, it's America.

@S - the Merry Monk, on the corner of Sheridan and Pearl St, has Wild Boar Baby Back Ribs. They are divine.

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