Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Minnesota officials ready for potential feral pig invasion


In 2016, a group of domestic pigs escaped from a farm in Marshall County in far northwestern Minnesota. A sow wandered into the aspen forests and wetlands of the West Valley Wildlife Management Area, where she gave birth to several piglets. As pigs do, they began rooting with their snouts, resulting in severe rutting and other damage to the landscape.

It was a rare example of a feral pig reproducing in Minnesota, and a learning experience for state and federal wildlife officials that illustrated how quickly a population of wild hogs could get established.

Feral swine are not native to the U.S. They were first brought to the country in the 1500s by early settlers as a source of food. Later, in the early 1900s, wild boar were introduced in some areas for hunting.

Since then, their numbers have exploded. Their population is estimated at over 6 million animals and is rapidly expanding. They’ve been reported in 35 states, including recent sightings in Wisconsin and North Dakota.

They can cause a host of serious issues to agriculture, forests and wildlife...more

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