The Pig Explosion- Part 2: How a species went from obscure to a nuisance in a quarter century

By contributing writer Russell Graves
Over the past three decades, the population reached a critical mass and everywhere pigs can live, pigs probably exist.
“There are but two kinds of landowners in Texas: Those with wild pigs and those that are about to have wild pigs,” says Billy Higginbotham, Professor and Extension Wildlife and Fisheries Specialist for the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Overton. Dr. Higginbotham is on the front line in the war on feral pigs and the damage they cause by researching control methods and ways to mitigate hog populations and the damage they inherently cause. His assessment on the landowners and the hog population, while simplistic, provides information on the breeding success of a species whose numbers continue to explode.
Historically, wild pigs were relegated to the rural areas of Texas. The prolific porcine, however, has continually expanded its range and now encroach inside city limits of small towns across the state as well as suburbia.
“Pigs are a constant concern for us,” says Ryan Mills who works for the municipal golf course in Childress, Texas. “We are always finding areas where they’ve rooted. They are attracted by the water we irrigate with and cause us a continual maintenance issue.”
“The funny thing is we never see them,” he admits. “They come out and do their damage at night.”
Wild pigs root up lawns and damage recreational areas while the wallows they leave behind provide a medium for standing water. The water can create breeding pools for mosquitoes – thus increasing the risk for mosquito borne illnesses like West Nile virus. An increase in West Nile is noteworthy since Texas suffered 43 fatalities in 2012 as a result of the disease. To read more pick up the April 2014 issue of North Texas Farm & Ranch.

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