One of the biggest threats to feral swine management is the transport and release of live feral swine to new areas. The USDA estimates the feral swine population in the U.S. is spreading at a rate of 55 to 70 miles per hour…in the back of trucks and trailers. Feral swine typically do not move to new areas through natural dispersion. Instead, humans play a significant role in their movement. As the feral swine population grows, many people are feeling the consequences, especially in the southern and southeastern United States.
Roughly half of all states currently prohibit the practice, which is typically done to establish new populations for hunting purposes.
Preventing the spread of feral swine is key to reducing their damage, said Larry Clark, National Wildlife Research Center director for USDA APHIS Wildlife Services in an article in The Wildlife Society’s eWildlifer.
In a recent survey conducted by the Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Research Center and Colorado State University, researchers delved into public attitudes and the potential barriers that might face policymakers when implementing new restrictions on the movement of feral swine, Clark said.
Results show that a majority of individuals in the U.S. have negative attitudes toward feral swine and support policies to restrict their transport and penalize transgressors. The survey also revealed that as knowledge and awareness of feral swine increase, support for policies restricting and penalizing their transport increases as well.
Contrary to previous studies, Clark said this research found that hunters are more likely to support restrictions on feral swine transport than are nonhunters.
“Overall, these findings suggest that legal restrictions on the transport of feral swine, even in states with large hunter populations, enjoy broad public support,” Clark said.
More from Farm Journal’s PORK:
Feral Swine: USDA Monitors World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species