Since the 1990s, the number of feral hogs (also variously known as wild pigs, feral pigs, feral swine, Eurasian wild boar, European wild boar, and Russian boar) and their distribution has grown dramatically. Their expansion has reached a critical level across much of the United States, causing significant economic, biologic, environmental, and natural resource damage.
Between 1900 and 1990, the national population size and distribution of these animals in this country had been relatively constant, numbering between 500,000 to 2 million animals and being found in 18 to 21 states. The National Feral Swine Mapping System reports 35+ states with established populations of feral swine. Nationwide populations are now estimated in the multi-millions, making them one of the most abundant large invasive animal species to be found in the United States.
Feral Hog Damages
Agricultural damage and control costs were reported to be >$1.5 billion annually across the US, and in Texas alone they cause an estimated $52 million annually of damage to the agricultural industry. Feral hog damage to natural ecosystems has been poorly researched but presumed to be equivalent, if not greater than, agricultural damages reported above. Feral hogs are quickly emerging as, and soon will be, one of the greatest wildlife damage management challenges in the United States and worldwide.
Feral Hog CoP
The Feral Hogs Community of Practice (CoP) is a resource area of eXtension concentrating on the control, adaptive management, biology, economics, disease risks, and the human interface of feral hogs across the United States.
The goal of this CoP is to provide critical information, resources, and expert application of knowledge to meet the demand for timely and accurate information. The Feral Hogs CoP not only communicates the biology and management of this species, but also provides a roadmap to deal with other species of interest that potentially follow in the track of feral hog infestations (e.g., invasive plant species, disease). Understanding processes involved with feral hogs, as well as necessary education and outreach methods implemented through this CoP, serves as a guideline to others dealing with occurrences of future species of impact.
Original Feral Hogs CoP Leadership Team
The following leadership team was formed to address a need for information to base feral hog outreach and education efforts to landowners and resource professionals. The team met and developed the majority of information presented here in 2012 – 2014. Much of this information remains relevant, and is reviewed and updated periodically.
Jim Cathey, Associate Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences
Joseph Corn (retired), Public Service Associate, Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, University of Georgia
William Giuliano, Assistant Professor & Wildlife Extension Specialist, Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, University of Florida
William Hamrick, Extension Associate II, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture, Mississippi State University
Amy Hays, formerly Emerging Technologies Specialist, Texas Water Resources Institute
Billy Higginbotham (retired), Professor and Extension Wildlife & Fisheries Specialist, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences
Jack Mayer, Research Scientist and Manager, Savannah River National Laboratory in Aiken, South Carolina
Rebecca McPeake, Professor and Wildlife Extension Specialist, University of Arkansas
Don Reed (retired), Professor, Forestry & Wildlife, Louisiana State University AgCenter
Samuel Smallidge, Assistant Professor and Extension Wildlife Management Specialist, New Mexico State University
Mark Smith, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Auburn University
Russell Stevens, Wildlife and Range Consultant, The Noble Foundation
Bronson Strickland, Associate Extension Professor, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture, Mississippi State University
Ben West, Western Region Director, University of Tennessee Extension