Think about it the worst species you know. Kudzu: felling trees and buildings, growing a foot a day. Burmese python: stripping the Everglades of small animals. Asian carp: rivers full of plankton and swimming straight to the Great Lakes.
They all came from somewhere, they arrived without natural predators, they outcompeted the local flora and fauna, and they took over the entire universe. But they all have their weaknesses: Kudzu dies in freezing conditions, carp cannot tolerate salt water, and pythons cannot travel long distances very quickly. (Fortunately.)
Now imagine a species that has all those advantages—an alien, no enemies—and no barriers to control: A species that doesn’t care about heat, is comfortable in many places, can run faster than you, and is strong enough to leave a furnace. big. in your car. This explains the 6 million wild boars in the United States, the most destructive of which most people have never heard of.
“If you want to create the perfect invasive, omnivorous, omnivorous, highly reproductive, highly invasive, and difficult to control species, look no further than feral hogs,” says John “Jack” Mayer, manager. technical programs at the federal Savannah River National Laboratory in South Carolina, and a well-known expert on wild hogs in the hot and humid deserts of the American Southwest and all parts in between.
Feral hogs—or wild boars, boars, boars, or razorbills—are not uncommon in the US; and other stories, they arrived in the 1500s, after being sent by the Spanish colonists as a source of meat. For hundreds of years, they settled in the forests of the southeastern United States, mixing their genes with escaped pigs and European pigs sent to hunt. The short-term inbreeding produced 3-foot-tall, 5-foot-tall pigs that retain the ferocity of their wild parents while having the large rumps and rapid breeding of domestic pigs.
What would have been better, the pigs would have been in the forest. But in the past few decades, they’ve been on the move: through towns and cities, at one point as far as 48 counties. that’s all you can dig up. “Anything that has calories in it, they’ll eat it,” says James LaCour, state wildlife veterinarian for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. “They are suckling cockroaches.”
The problem found in feral pigs is not just the waste they cause, although it is estimated to be worth $2.5 billion a year. Nor is it a disease that can infect domestic pigs or humans, although it can keep biologists up at night. There is no way to control them. Walls can’t hold them. Trapping and shooting can reduce their numbers only when populations begin to decline. And despite much research, the methods of administering drugs—whether contraceptives or poisons, which biologists call drugs—are still several years away.