Indiana officials working to eradicate feral pigs

WLFI File Photo
WLFI File Photo

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Efforts are underway by federal and state workers in Indiana to eradicate feral pigs from the state. Feral pigs are considered an invasive species that can root out huge portions of agriculture lands, crops and fields.

The Bloomington Herald Times reports plans to rid Indiana of an estimated 500 wild pigs don’t include hunting. Officials say they’re using baiting traps to take out groups of pigs at once. Indiana Department of Natural Resources wildlife research biologist Steve Backs said wild pigs have been in Indiana for the past 25 years.

Feral pigs are a genetic combination of Eurasian wild pigs, domestic pigs and pot-bellied pigs. They are most active at night.

“The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has no interest in promoting wild pigs as a recreation resource (and) instead views them as a threat to existing recreational opportunities,” Backs said.

Officials are focused on assessing the wild pig population and educating the public, said Lee Humberg, state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services. He said the feral pigs were brought to the state — which is now illegal — many years ago, mostly to establish a hunting population.

The state received federal funding through the 2014 Farm Bill that allotted $20 million for a five-year effort to help combat the increasing population of wild pigs across the country.

Many landowners with pigs on their property find the pig hunters to be as much of a nuisance as the pigs themselves, according to Humberg.

“In the pig control world, a common saying is, ‘Interest in pig hunting generally begets you more pigs, not less,'” Humberg said.