- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
UC Cooperative Extension is asking California farmers and landowners to help track the the state's wild pig population, reported Julia Mitric on Capitol Public Radio News. Signs of the pig's presence are hard to miss, UCCE advisor John Harper told the reporter.
"It looks like you came in with a rototiller and just uprooted everything," he says. "It's like ground squirrel mounds or gopher mounds on steroids because the pigs can go over such a large area."
California's wild pigs have a variety of origins. Harper says many are descended from domestic pigs who were released into the wild by humans or escaped on their own and bred with game hogs such as the Russian boar hog. Wild pigs root around in the soil for truffles and small plant roots with their sharp tusks tear, destroying plants and grasses that sheep and cattle like to graze on. They also open up the land for erosion and invasive species.
"So you might get something like 'medusahead,' an invasive grass that tends to crowd out other more desirable forage species," Harper said.
A team of UC Cooperative Extension scientists have created a GIS-based mobile app that works on Android and Apple devices to make it easy for landowners to participate in the study.
“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 Roger Baldwin, UC Cooperative Extension wildlife specialist in the Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at UC Davis.
Learn more and sign up to participate in the study on the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources news website.