Friday, June 22, 2012
Hundreds of feral pigs roam Cleveland National Forest, leaving paths of destruction where ever they go.
Hundreds of feral pigs roam Cleveland National Forest, leaving paths of destruction where ever they go. Helicopters, hunting dogs and traps are all being considered to rid East County of its pesky pig problem.
The domestically-raised Russian pigs were reportedly released six years ago by a local Native American tribe as the start of a hunting program. But the couple dozen pigs they brought over quickly multiplied out of control.
Anabele Cornejo, with Cleveland National Forest, said the pigs pose many threats.
“One, they destroy natural habitat. Two, they destroy habitat for protected and endangered species,” she said. “They can contaminate water supplies and all our water becomes our drinking water, so there’s really no benefit to having the pigs in the forest.”
According to the U.S. Forest Service, feral pigs cause $1.5 billion in damages annually nationwide.
The Forest Service is considering three options to deal with the feral pigs. One method involves aerial hunting with helicopters. A professional marksman would board a low-flying helicopter and eradicate the pigs from the air.
Another option is to hunt the pigs on foot using traps and hunting dogs.
The third option is to do nothing at all.
Cleveland National Forest is open to comments until July 18. They will review the public’s opinions and then issue their recommendations for the final plan.