City goes hog wild trap­ping wild pigs

Au­thor­i­ties act as feral hogs in­fil­trate neigh­bor­hoods.

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By Su­san Schrock Fort Worth Star-tele­gram

With corn-baited traps, Ar­ling­ton an­i­mal con­trol of­fi­cers have cap­tured nearly three dozen feral hogs and sent those not-so-lit­tle piggies off to mar­ket be­fore they could cause prob­lems in River Legacy Parks and sur­round­ing neigh­bor­hoods.

The city sit­u­ated be­tween Dal­las and Fort Worth be­gan set­ting traps af­ter the hogs started trav­el­ing away from the Trin­ity River area and south into nearby neigh­bor­hoods in search of acorns and other food, said Ray Rentschler, An­i­mal Ser­vices field su­per­vi­sor. Mo­torists have also struck and killed at least two hogs, in­clud­ing one weigh­ing 254 pounds, he said.

“Ev­ery­body is ner­vous about a 200-pound hog roam­ing the neigh­bor­hood,” Rentschler said.

Since Oc­to­ber, city crews have cap­tured 34 feral hogs. The an­i­mals are loaded into a trailer and taken to a Fort Worth meat pro­cess­ing plant, where the city re­ceived be­tween $10 to $100 for each hog. Those pro­ceeds, about $900 so far, are be­ing rein­vested in new traps to keep the feral hog pop­u­la­tion in check and away from homes and park trails, Rentschler said.

“The hogs are go­ing to run from peo­ple, but we want peo­ple to feel com­fort­able in our parks,” Rentschler said.

On Wed­nes­day, the city trapped a 160-pound boar that had been reg­u­larly sighted eat­ing acorns.

Pre­vi­ously, Ar­ling­ton An­i­mal Ser­vices was eu­th­a­niz­ing the hogs it­self, which was cost­ing tax­pay­ers be­tween $100 and $120 per an­i­mal, and then bury­ing the car­casses in the city land­fill, he said. In 2010, 34 hogs were trapped and eu­th­a­nized, but the city didn’t set any traps in 2011 be­cause very few hogs were sighted.

Wild pig pop­u­la­tions can rise quickly. A sow has about 5 to 6 piglets per lit­ter on av­er­age and can have more than one lit­ter a year, ac­cord­ing to the Texas AgriLife Ex­ten­sion Ser­vice.

Ac­cord­ing to one report, Texas would need to erad­i­cate 66 per­cent of its feral hog pop­u­la­tion an­nu­ally to keep the pop­u­la­tion un­der con­trol.

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