Home Feature Wild pig population in the US is growing at an extraordinarily rapid pace

Wild pig population in the US is growing at an extraordinarily rapid pace

by Yucatan Times
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It’s like something that’s out of a terrifying movie – a wild pig population that’s growing at such a rapid pace, experts are referring to it as a “feral swine bomb” that can go off any minute.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the invasive species of wild pigs has a population of at least 6 million and is growing quickly.

The wild pig population has “expanded from 17 states to at least 39 over the last three decades” and causes an estimated $2.5 billion in damage a year, The Atlantic said.

“I’ve heard it referred to as a feral swine bomb,” said Dale Nolte, manager of the National Feral Swine Damage Management Program at the USDA to The Atlantic. “They multiply so rapidly. To go from a thousand to two thousand, it’s not a big deal. But if you’ve got a million, it doesn’t take long to get to 4 [million], then 8 million.”

The problem stems from the fact that most of the wild pigs are a mixture of domestic breeds and European wild boar.

“The problem with the hybrids is you get all of the massive benefits of all of that genetics,” said Ryan Brook, a University of Saskatchewan biologist to the Atlantic. “It creates what we’d call super-pigs.”

Some experts believe the increasing number of newborn piglets is due to global warming, as warmer temperatures boost the growth of plants that the pigs feast on, the Outsider said.

It also doesn’t help that the wild pigs can start reproducing at just 3 months old and can reproduce up to twice a year with litters consisting of around 10 piglets, the Outsider says.

The population of feral pigs is higher in certain states. In Texas, there are more than 1.5 million, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife. Florida also has a considerable amount, the University of Florida says, while California has a population between 200,000 and 400,000, The Sacramento Bee reported in 2018.

Source: Miami Herald

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