Wild pig conference goes virtual

The National Wild Pig Task Force’s 2020 conference is going virtual for the month of June, and registration is free.

The task force had its in-person conference scheduled for early April in Jacksonville, Florida, but the coronavirus pandemic caused organizers to change course.

“We had everything set up to go and accumulated all of the speakers, and of course, COVID-19 came, and we decided to do this virtual conference,” said Jim LaCour, the state wildlife veterinarian for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the chair of the National Wild Pig Task Force.

The group began putting prerecorded presentations on its YouTube channel for anyone to view. The task force plans to keep the presentations up the month of June, and is looking for other ways to disseminate presentations to people who may have missed them.

“This will be a repository of that information that’s accessible,” LaCour said. “That’s a bonus for sure.”

Presentations tackle a range of subjects, including diseases, toxicants and human dimensions.

For example, LaCour presented on African swine fever, a disease that hasn’t yet reached North America, but wildlife managers and researchers should know how to keep it out. “The perfect audience for surveillance is these people that are watching the presentations,” he said.

Other topics include toxicants as well as several human dimension presentations about wild pigs. “There’s a lot of good information on there about what’s going on,” he said. “I hope that people enjoy it and everybody takes a little something away from it that they didn’t know before.”

LaCour hopes people come away from the conference with a heightened awareness for wild pigs, the damage they do, the diseases they carry and the economic impact they have. The task force will provide state reports on what state policymakers are doing in terms of wild pig management.

Click here to register for the conference and gain access to the video portal.

Header Image: Presentations from the National Wild Pig Task Force’s 2020 conference will be available online until the end of June. Credit: Don and Janet Beasley