- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Wild pigs can spread disease to people, pets and livestock. Leptospirosis, tuberculosis and brucellosis are among more than 30 diseases that wild pigs can spread to humans and livestock. The feral pig species can damage forage and crops and contribute to erosion, which can affect water quality and allow invasive plant species to establish. The boorish boars can also prey on livestock, harassing, injuring or even killing cows, goats, sheep, horses and other animals.
Although anecdotal evidence of wild pig damage has been shared by landowners and farmers, official estimates of porcine damage occurring on agricultural lands are not well defined and are highly variable. To get a more accurate picture of the wild pig problem in California, UC Cooperative Extension is conducting a survey of landowners and ranchers statewide.
“The geographical extent of wild pig damage in California is currently unknown, making it difficult to mitigate and manage losses, and hard to estimate the economic impact on private landowners and public lands,” said John Harper, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor in Mendocino and Lake counties.
To complement the survey, Harper and Roger Baldwin, UC Cooperative Extension wildlife specialist in the Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at UC Davis, have developed a smartphone and mobile app that will help landowners and managers identify and record feral pig damage.
“Rangeland managers and farmers can enter data into the app from the field so that we can estimate the land area and economic impacts of feral pig damage over a longer time period,” said Baldwin. “Farmers and landowners who are interested in participating in data collection using our mobile application should fill out the survey and indicate their interest in the app at the end of the survey.”
To participate in the wild pig damage project, landowners and ranchers can fill out a short survey at http://ucanr.edu/wildpig2016.
The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete. Individual identities and survey responses will be kept confidential and participation in the survey is entirely voluntary.
Although wild pigs can be a nuisance in residential areas, this project is currently designed to assess the situation in rural settings.
For more information about the wild pig damage project or to obtain a paper copy of the survey, please contact Harper at (707) 463-4495 or email@example.com or Baldwin at (530) 752-4551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.