It sounds strange, but feral pigs (wild boars/razorbacks/wild hogs–whatever you call them) seem to have made a home in New York State. Normally we hear about these animals in states further south, but somehow this summer they had made their presence known locally!
These animals are not a natural species in the Champlain Valley, and hence can upset local ecosystems, including becoming problems for farmers. This summer there were reports of a group of feral pigs in Peru, NY, that had begun causing a nuisance to a local farm.
Attempts to trap the animals are tricky to accomplish because these pigs are resourceful and seem wise enough to avoid a trap that they’ve previously encountered.
The traps are circular because feral pigs have been known to crowd into the corners of other traps and climb atop one another to escape. Last year, the state set a similar corral trap too soon, catching only three pigs. After that, none of the others returned to the area, even after the trap was dismantled. (The New York Times)
Problems Feral Pigs Can Cause
If enough of these feral swine increase their numbers they can cause several problems for farmers, upset local ecosystems, and may cause other problems for the average human in the area. Some of the troubles they can cause include:
- Can locally decimate the fall acorn crop, leaving virtually none for native wildlife such as bear, turkey, white-tailed deer, squirrel and waterfowl.
- Disturb and prey on ground-nesting birds (like turkey and grouse) and their eggs which may decrease game bird populations.
- Will kill and eat fawns and young domestic livestock.
- Prey on reptiles and amphibians (such as snakes, lizards, frogs and salamanders) and their eggs which may impact these populations.
- Will eat almost any agricultural crop as well as tree seeds and seedlings.
- Tear up lawns and golf courses to eat the tender roots, grubs and worms.
- Wallow in wet areas where they destroy native vegetation, cause erosion, and negatively affect water quality.
- Have razor sharp tusks and can be aggressive toward humans, pets and livestock.
- Can carry and transmit at least 30 diseases including swine brucellosis, E. coli, trichinosis, and pseudorabies to native wildlife, livestock, pets and humans. Pseudorabies, if transmitted to domestic swine, can decimate NY’s pork industry. (New York Hunting and Trapping)
Perhaps the pigs in the Champlain Valley began their wild life by escaping from a farm and procreated to increase their numbers, or they may have simply migrated into the area?
Has anyone else heard or seen any of these wild pigs or evidence of their presence in the Champlain Valley? More information is needed to know if they are an increasing population here or if there have only been a few incidents.
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