Feral Swine Aerial Eradication Begins at Havasu Refuge

( U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services )

Portions of the 37,515-acre Havasu National Wildlife Refuge (HNWR) located on the lower Colorado River in Arizona and California will be temporarily closed to allow for the aerial eradication of feral swine. This marks the seventh aerial operation to eradicate feral swine from the refuge.

The closures will be in place between Sept. 28 and Oct. 1, HWNR said in a release. The Colorado River will not be closed during the eradication effort; most of the closures will be on refuge lands. 

The aerial shooting operations will be conducted by one helicopter using specially trained USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service – Wildlife Services personnel following policy and procedures established to ensure safe, humane and environmentally sound practices, the release said. 

Feral swine are known to pose a human health risk due to diseases they may carry, the agency noted. This eradication plan and environmental assessment were developed as part of a national priority to eliminate or reduce the risks and damages inflicted by feral swine to agriculture, natural resources, property and human health.

In southern states, eradicating large populations of feral swine is almost impossible. Because of this, Travis Black, deputy regional manager for the Southeast Region for Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), said earlier this year that he can’t stress enough how important it is to address feral hog problems as soon as possible. 

“If laws need to be changed, change them,” Black says. “The longer you wait, the higher the chances are that the population will increase and spread. Form partnerships with interested agencies and take a cooperative approach to address the problem. There’s generally a lot of common ground in dealing with invasive species and their impacts.”

For more information, check the USFWS Havasu website for current updates and status.

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