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Feral pigs
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Washington looks to head off potential invasion of feral pigs

Feral pigs are common in many parts of the Western United States. (Billy Higginbotham, Texas AgriLife Extension Service)

Asian giant hornets aren’t the only natural threat in the Northwest from Canada, with state officials also warning against the possible presence of feral pigs.

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Montana and Washington are the only Northwest states without significant infestations of wild pigs, and they’ve created a program to try to keep it that way.

That has Justin Bush with the Washington Invasive Species Council (WISC) touting a new program aptly known as “Squeal on Pigs,” urging Washington residents to report any feral pig sightings by calling 1-888-268-9219. Ultimately, the goal is to prevent their movement across the border from Canada and Oregon, given their status as an invasive and destructive species.

“These recommendations are now being implemented across the Western United States,” Bush told KIRO Radio.

Data from the WISC estimates that the spread of feral pigs has led to $1.5 billion in damage to crops, wildlife, and local environments. They are also known to carry over two-dozen diseases and parasites known to be harmful to both humans and livestock.

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While their presence in Washington has been rare in recent years, Oregon is home to roughly 200 feral swine, a majority of which migrated from California. The hope is that by having Washington residents report any sightings, the state can prevent their spread before it’s too late. It doesn’t take long for a population to take root, with the WISC calling them “prolific breeders,” capable of producing as many as eight babies in a litter.

Feral swine can be identified by their coarse hair with long bristles, with varying colors that include black, gray, brown, blond, red, or spotted combinations. Average females can weigh up to 330 pounds, while males can weigh as much as 440 pounds with four tusks up to five inches long each.

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