July 01, 2011
Wild Pig Numbers Escalating in Kentucky
By Chad Love
Feral hogs are seemingly becoming established all over the country, sometimes with no help at all, and other times as a result of illegal stocking. A dramatic expansion in the numbers of wild pigs in Kentucky is due in part to deliberately (and illegally) imported pigs.
From this story on lex18.com:
A Florida man pleaded guilty last week to three counts of illegally importing and possessing wild pigs in Kentucky. State law prohibits persons from possessing and importing wild pigs, or releasing them to run free. Teddy Wilburn King, 55, of Old Town, Florida, paid $300 in fines plus court costs for bringing wild pigs into Kentucky from Florida. King, who was originally charged on June 16, made his plea a week later in McCreary County District Court. Conservation Officer Travis Neal initiated the case after a McCreary County resident killed an escaped pig and alerted Neal to the presence of the animals. King's conviction followed a similar conviction last April. In that case, Bryan Currey, 46, of Elkton, Kentucky, was convicted of bringing about a dozen wild pigs into the state from Tennessee.
"...Wild pigs have been established in relatively low numbers in a handful of Kentucky counties for almost a decade. The numbers have escalated in recent years - department officials have documented the presence of wild pigs in 44 counties, including central Kentucky. "In 2009, we had confirmed wild pigs in 23 Kentucky counties, so their expansion has been dramatic," said Wildlife Division Program coordinator Steven Dobey. "Unfortunately, our research has revealed that this rapid expansion is often the result of illegal releases by people hoping to manufacture hunting opportunities." While the opportunity to hunt wild pigs is often glamorized by the media, the negative consequences associated with these non-native animals far outweigh any benefits. Wild pigs are an incredibly destructive species, both for wildlife and farmers.
Is there any way to stop this porcine kudzu, or should we just give up and embrace the pig as the new deer?