Northwest states ask public to 'squeal' on feral pigs

Jul 24, 2012

Washington, Oregon and Idaho are joining forces to track populations of feral pigs across the Northwest. These “hogs gone wild” can do massive damage to the landscape. And wildlife agents want to know where swine are on the move. They’re even launching a so-called “swine line” for people to call with sightings.

When domesticated pigs escape their sties, Wendy Brown says something strange starts to happen …

“They actually develop darker fur, longer tusks -- they actually change in physical appearance. It’s amazing.”

Feral swine being collared
Female feral swine is collared as part of a research and monitoring study. The yellow banding is to alert hunters that the pig has a radio collar. Oct. 2010.
Credit ODFC / ODFC

Brown works for the Washington Invasive Species Council, which is teaming up with counterparts in Oregon and Idaho. The three states fear a spreading population made up of these escapee pigs and the Eurasian Wild Boar will ravage wildlife habitat, destroy crops and spread disease across the Northwest.

Brown says the rogue swine’s grubbing ways cause about $1.5 billion in annual damage nationwide.

“They’ve been called ‘omnivorous rototillers,’" Brown says. "And they do, it’s incredible, they just look like they’ve rototilled up the earth.”

So far, the Northwest has known populations of feral pigs in southern and central Oregon and in Idaho’s Bruneau Valley.

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The number to report feral swine is 888-268-9219.

On the Web:

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on Feral Swine

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network