Northwest States Take Steps To Prevent Feral Hog Populations
Burley, Idaho (KMVT-TV) Wild pigs are a growing concern for wildlife officials in Idaho, Washington and Oregon.
In an effort to control the spread of feral pig populations the three states are launching a campaign, "Squeal On Pigs."
Federal officials blame feral pigs for an estimated one and a half billion dollars worth of damage nationwide.
"They eat what they eat and do what pigs do and that means they're digging up pastures or crops. They can go through a grain field and dig up the roots, eating roots and bugs and all the things pigs eat and they can be extremely destructive, especially if they're in high populations," said Joel Packham, Agricultural Educator, University of Idaho Extension Office, Cassia County.
It's estimated more than five million are wreaking havoc in nearly every state, neighboring Oregon has roughly five thousand, mostly in the southeastern region.
In an effort to both control the populations and better understand how many are out there northwest wildlife officials are asking hunters, anglers, hikers and other nature enthusiasts to report wild pig sightings on a public hotline called the northwest swine line.
It's not clear if any exist in idaho, none have been spotted since 2009, but it wouldn't take much for a population to explode.
"Every three months pigs can have a litter. It wouldn't be impossible to have them have a litter at least two times a year, maybe three times a year. And, they could have anywhere from five to twelve piglets in a litter," said Packham.
The biggest concern for officials is their destructive behavior.
"Anytime there's a pig digging and around water especially because they're trying to find wet, cool places to lay down, they're going to cause a mud hole, which can certainly be an erodible event," said Packham.
As Packham explains, there's no question that they could cause significant damage along rivers and streams in large populations.
If you see a feral hog, call the Swine Line at 1–888–268–9219.