Experts in New York have issued a feral hog warning today, stating that farms in central New York state are being invaded. There have been numerous reports of attacks on livestock, family pets and threats to people. While an exact number isn’t known, it is estimated hundreds are currently loose in the state. It is unclear if they are all the offspring of hogs that escaped from game farms or are moving in from other states. According to USDA, the wild hogs are known to be successfully reproducing in at least 3 counties, with an average of 4-6 per litter.
In an article released today, Peter Andersen, a farmer in Sullivan County was quoted saying, “We’ve shot probably 15 to 20 of them in the last three years. We’ve shot them right square in the head and the bullet will glance off and they’ll get up and go. Their skulls are so thick in the front, if you don’t happen to hit it at a perfect 90 degrees, with the way their heads have that kind of curved shape, the bullet will glance right off,” furthering concern about the need for aggressive management.
USDA last year sought to start controlling the growing problem when they were awarded a $230,000 grant from the Invasive Species Council of New York. According to a USDA report, 27 animals were trapped or shot and subsequently tested for disease. USDA also stated in the report, “In the absence of aggressive professional management, these populations will likely continue their expansion and become entrenched in New York State with potentially devastating consequences to natural resources, agriculture, and human health and safety”. While there have been no reports of attacks on humans yet, the animals are aggressive enough to have chased people, attacked livestock and killed pets.
USDA biologist Justin Gansowski thinks that a lack of funding is the biggest obstacle for prevention of a population explosion. “There needs to be more funding,” he said. “That’s currently why we only have one person, which is me. With the explosive nature of the feral swine population, our time frame to do something is now.”
Area residents have begun to report sightings to neighbors and contact people to bring rifles to eliminate the feral hogs on sight. It appears this is all that can be done by farmers and residents in highly populated areas, at least until additional funding becomes available to help Mr. Gansowski.
Additional articles on this subject can be found here:
Feral pigs in CNY
Feral Pigs Invading Allegany State Park
Feral Swine – NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation