Wild pigs’ climate impact amounts to 1 million cars

Researchers used models and mapping to study wild pigs’ climate impacts on five continents. Credit: University of Queensland

Wild pigs aren’t just destructive to property and the landscape. They may also contribute to climate change. By uprooting carbon trapped in soil, wild pigs release about 4.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide across the globe each year, researchers found. That’s the equivalent of 1.1 million cars.

An international team led by researchers from The University of Queensland and The University of Canterbury have used modeling and mapping techniques to determine the climate effects of wild pigs’ (Sus scrofa)—sometimes called feral hogs—on five continents. They estimated that pigs uproot an area of around 36,000 to 124,000 square kilometers.

Read the study in Global Change Biology.