Breaking News

New tool to report wild pig sightings, damage


By Gary Joiner

The Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute (NRI) encourages Texas landowners and homeowners to report sightings of wild pigs and any damage they may have caused.

A new feature on the Institute’s wild pigs website offers an easy-to-use tool to report the information.

“Landowners are constantly seeing wild pigs, seeing their damage, but there’s not a good way to collect their information about where that occurs,” Dr. Jim Cathey, NRI associate director, told the Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network.

The website brings together the new reporting tool with past products that provide landowners with information on how to remove wild pigs from their property.

“On our wild pig website, it takes one through a process where it allows you to tell us your name, your location,” Cathey said. “We even have a map where you just move your cursor across the map, click it, and it will tell your latitude and longitude.”

Cathey said damage information helps with management decisions and where abatement efforts need to be targeted.

“The person that is providing the report can tell us the number of pigs they see, the different classes, whether it’s male, female or young. And then they can also click buttons to tell us about the type of damage that occurs, whether that’s wallowing, rooting, tearing up fences or infrastructure,” he said. “All those are easy selections that the user can make for us.”

The new tool also includes a section for photo submissions.

Examples of wild pig damage include vehicle collisions, habitat loss, livestock depredation, disease transmissions, bacterial impairments and more.

Past data from Texas landowners indicates wild pigs cause an estimated $52 million in agricultural damage annually in the state.

He noted wild pigs cause tremendous damage to row crops, pastures, agricultural equipment and more.

Nationally, damage from wild pigs is estimated at $1.5 billion. Cathey said the estimates, however, don’t include information about the damage that occurs in now suburban areas of Texas.

As the state’s population continues to expand, Cathey said issues with wild pigs in urban and suburban areas are also a growing concern.

“We have wild pigs in Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio,” he said. “Damage to the landscapes, whether it be to irrigation or to the plants themselves around home sites, that can get pretty expensive, as well.”

The new reporting tool will also allow wildlife researchers to see where wild pigs may be harming water quality and stream systems.

“They cause problems through rooting. They increase the sedimentation, and they actually defecate straight into the stream systems, increasing E-coli and making those streams unsafe for us to recreate in,” Cathey said. “This allows us an opportunity to work with agencies, such as Texas Wildlife Services, to come and do abatement, primarily through aerial gunning or some other control measures.”

To learn more and report information, visit https://wildpigs.nri.tamu.edu.

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