Over the past decade, wildlifers and the public have become increasingly aware of the damage that invasive feral swine (Sus scrofa) can cause to agriculture, property, native species and ecosystems. As a native Oklahoman, I watched as these wild hog populations transformed from being a hunting challenge in a limited range to becoming a statewide scourge on every resource.
Recognizing the challenge, Congress established the National Feral Swine Damage Management Program in 2014 to help every state and territory address the feral swine problem and protect agricultural and natural resources, property, animal health and human health and safety.
This month the USDA APHIS National Feral Swine Damage Management Program initiated a series of videos chronicling the real stories of farmers, ranchers and others directly impacted by feral swine damages across the country. The series seeks to connect the broad public with the issue of invasive feral swine.
The first video in the series looks at the impacts feral swine have in Mississippi on farmers — large and small — as well as the levee system, natural resources and archeological sites. Episodes available in the coming months will cover topics of pecan growers and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) hunters in Oklahoma as well as sheep, goat, and cattle ranchers in Texas.
We hope the video series will resonate with viewers and take the issue beyond just the animal to showcase the impact feral swine have on individuals and their livelihoods.
Many members of the public are not directly impacted by feral swine. Some may even have positive attitudes toward them. Because of this, long-term successful management will require a shift in attitudes and norms surrounding feral swine. As just one small piece of the puzzle this series will connect with the viewer and humanize those impacted by feral swine on a daily basis. Ultimately, it may increase public support for management efforts and decrease detrimental behaviors such as translocation of feral swine.
Watch the first video below.