Fight­ing feral hog in­fil­tra­tion

Cherokee County Herald - - VIEWPOINTS -

Feral hogs con­tinue to wreak havoc on Alabama farms, but law en­force­ment and gov­ern­ment agen­cies are help­ing farm­ers fight back.

In Novem­ber, a twoyear in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Divi­sion of Wildlife and Fresh­wa­ter Fish­eries led to 16 ar­rests for trans­port­ing, re­leas­ing or pos­sess­ing live feral hogs. Thir­teen of the of­fend­ers were Alabama res­i­dents. The of­fense is a class B mis­de­meanor with a $2,500 fine and pos­si­ble jail time up to 180 days.

The U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture’s Nat­u­ral Re­sources Con­ser­va­tion Ser­vice (NRCS) is ac­cept­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for its Wild Pig Dam­age Man­age­ment Pro­gram in Alabama. Through Jan. 20, Alabama landown­ers may ap­ply for fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to mon­i­tor and man­age feral swine on their prop­er­ties.

It’s es­ti­mated feral hogs cause $1.5 bil­lion in an­nual agri­cul­tural dam­ages na­tion­wide. The root­ing mam­mals have been sighted in most of Alabama’s 67 coun­ties. Sows be­gin breed­ing at six months old and pro­duce up to four lit­ters of four to 12 piglets per year.

Wild pig root­ing dam­ages na­tive plant com­mu­ni­ties that pro­vide habi­tat and food sources for in­dige­nous wildlife species.

Ad­di­tion­ally, wild hogs de­grade wa­ter qual­ity and pose a se­ri­ous dis­ease threat to hu­mans and live­stock.

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