Beware of the feral pigs

Jul 23, 2012, 12:02 PM | Updated: 1:20 pm
Officials in Idaho, Oregon and Washington are launching a campaign aimed at stopping the spread of wild pig populations in the region. (Photograph courtesy of Lloyd Loope, U.S. Geological Survey, Bugwood.org)

Like invasive ivy, the wild pig population in Washington
is out of control. So much so that the state is
part
of a campaign to thwart the growth of feral pig
populations
in the area.

“Squeal on Pigs” was launched Monday with Idaho and
Oregon.

Feral swine are identified as any pig not confined in
fences, and their spread across the country is blamed for
an
estimated $1.5 billion in damage to crops, livestock, and
wildlife. Federal officials estimate more than 5 million
feral pigs are roaming the country and pose a disease risk
to humans.

The Recreation and Conservation Office says there was a
feral pig population reported on the Olympic Peninsula,
but it’s no longer there. Most of the pigs have been
sighted in southern Washington.

The pigs came from Europe and Asia as domestic pigs, but
after years of escape and intentional release, the pigs
have become free-ranging swine. Not only are they
destruction to
crops and wetlands, the pigs produce four to eight babies
per litter.

If you see a feral pig, the state wants you to call its
hotline: 1-877-9-INFEST. The pigs vary in color in size,
but are most commonly black. Their hair is long and
course. Females weigh between 77-330 pounds. The males
have four tusks and can be very sharp.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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