Damage caused to rangelands by wild pig rooting activity is mitigated with intensive trapping

Author(s): Joshua A. Gaskamp, Kenneth L. Gee, Tyler A. Campbell, Nova J. Silvy and Stephen L. Webb

Published: October 2018

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The wild pig (Sus scrofa), an exotic and invasive species, has caused great concern at a global scale, particularly within agricultural landscapes. The objective of this study was to determine whether intensive trapping and wild pig removal resulted in a concomitant decrease in damage to rangelands. Removal of 356 wild pigs over 2 years showed an immediate reduction in rooting damage that carried over after trapping ceased. After only one trap session, rooting damage across the three sites was reduced 43–82% and total damage reduction from the beginning to the end of the project was 90%. With intensive trapping (1 pig/22.7 ha/year), damage may also be reduced on neighboring areas that are not being trapped, as indicated by data from our non-trapped units. Although we reduced rooting damage locally, and on nearby areas, large-scale, intensive control will be needed for the long-term effective reduction in damage and wild pig numbers because wild pigs have high reproductive rates, high survival, and can recolonize areas rapidly.