The battle to eradicate feral hogs

The most popular way to eradicate wild hogs is to shoot them, whether on gaming ranches, in the wild or from the door of a helicopter. But hunting has done little to stem the estimated 6-9 million hogs running wild across at least 42 states and three territories, as Stephen R. Miller writes in FERN’s latest story, produced in collaboration with National Geographic.

“The exact number is difficult to pin down, and the estimated cost of the damage they cause — probably about $2.5 billion annually, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture — is likely an underestimate,” he writes.

“The pigs plow through crops, tear up roads and infrastructure, spread disease, and elbow native species out of fragile marshes, riversides, grasslands, and forests. Many researchers consider them the most destructive invasive species on the planet,” Miller writes.

Now into the fray comes an ecologist with an unlikely innovation — a trap, simply designed to capture roving hogs. Once corralled, they are dispatched with the crack of a rifle, their carcasses given away as food for people in need.

You can read the full story at FERN or at National Geographic.