When a bunch of wild pigs showed up around C.J. Strike in 2009, Idaho wildlife officials began to sweat.
They knew that nationally these feral mammals were a costly invasive species seeding weeds, spreading disease and causing massive erosion from their rooting and grubbing behavior. The estimate of the damage is $1.4 billion nationally that includes depredations on lambs, calves, fawns and birds.
Now Idaho, Oregon and Washington Invasive have launched a “Squeal on Pigs” campaign. The three states hope to raise awareness about feral swine, stop their expansion and enlisting private landowners in the effort to establish baseline population estimates and distribution.
“Early detection and rapid response are key,” said Amy Ferriter, Idaho’s Invasive Species coordinator. “The invasive species councils of the Pacific Northwest consider this a priority.”
To help people report sightings of feral swine, the Idaho, Oregon and Washington Invasive Species Councils are providing a toll free number – a swine line – for people to report sightings at 888-268-9219. Sorry, no hunting information at the toll free number.
I have seen the impact of wild pigs on a landscape first hand. In Hawaii, these pigs, first introduced by Captain Cook, have completely changed the plumbing of some areas, dramatically reducing the amount of water the watershed stores and cutting deep into productivity. I did a study of invasive species in Hawaii in 1995 and pigs were a major threat to both endangered birds and pineapple farmers