There have been a lot of recent reports in Vista Oaks concerning sightings and property damage by feral hogs. In a recent interview, John Tomecek, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist in Thrall, Texas, said that wild pigs cause more than $52 million in agricultural damage in Texas every single year. Texas’ wild pig population was 2.6 million according to a 2012 study. Now experts estimate their numbers have reached at least 3 million. Wild pigs' growing confidence to enter more populated areas raises public health and safety concerns. Highlights from the interview are as follows:
Tomecek said that wild pigs are known to carry a disease – swine brucellosis – that is transferable to humans. Occurrences, however, have thus far been limited to situations such as hunters with an exposed open wound cleaning a wild pig carcass. Tomecek has also stated that wild pigs are responsible for damaging ecosystems and spreading diseases, including E. coli, to public water supplies and recreational waterways.
Tomecek said people should give wild pigs a wide berth. Instances of people being injured by wild pigs is relatively low in the U.S. Most instances occurred when hunters approached the animal. But the first unprovoked human death caused by wild pigs recently occurred in Texas.
“If a person is walking and comes across wild pigs, don’t make them feel cornered,” he said. “You won’t outrun them, but they typically will give up the chase if they don’t perceive a threat. But if a person is threatened or pigs become aggressive, get off the ground. Climb a tree or a car, do anything to get elevated. If that isn’t an option, try to get away, but in that instance stay on your feet at all costs.”
Pets should avoid engaging with wild pigs, Tomecek said. He is not aware of any attacks on domesticated animals, but said that pets should avoid contact with wild pigs.
“Dogs are usually on a leash in the areas we are talking about, and that is the best solution,” he said. “You don’t want your pet near them, but if they do engage them somehow, don’t try to get in the middle of the fight.”
Tomecek said the best way to deal with wild pigs is effective trapping, but he reiterated that “effective trapping” is important. Pigs are extremely intelligent, and trapping entire sounders is vital. Any animal that escapes is likely to avoid future attempts with similar methods.
You can read the entire interview at GoSanAngelo.com.