In the hills, forests, swamps and farmland of Central New York, a new menace has found a home. They go by a number of names: feral pigs, wild hogs and boars. DEC Region 7 Wildlife Director Marie Kautz is becoming very concerned. "Now we have populations that are self re-producing, very, very prolific and can triple their population in a year."
Feral pigs are considered an invasive species. Imported into North America 400 years ago, they're well established in the south. But lately their populations have exploded.
And now, they're in Central New York. Small populations of feral pigs have been found in Tompkins, Cortland, Cayuga and Onondaga Counties.
The problem with feral hogs is they have a habit of wallowing and rutting up the land. In other parts of the country they cause up to 100-million dollars in crop damage each year. Plus they can be dangerous to people. So the DEC doesn't want to control their populations in New York, it wants to get rid of them entirely.
Kautz tells Action News, "We've got an opportunity now where we can do eradication and probably do it successfully. If we pass up this opportunity, we'll never have the chance again. We'll be in an endless control mode like in the Southern and Western States."
The DEC will begin trapping and removing feral pigs from Central New York. Hunters are allowed to shoot them on sight, anytime and in any number. Experts advise against that because those that survive will only scatter and establish themselves everywhere.