Look out, pigs. Here come the feds – or at least their money.
Feral hogs – forever the bane of hunters, landowners and, well, everybody — are found in more than three quarters of the United States and are responsible for an estimated $1.5 billion in damage yearly. And while their numbers are expanding, federal and state land managers in New Mexico are hoping they stop the growing tide of pork in their state and use what they’ve learned to assist other states as well.
A total of $1 million in federal funds has been set aside for a yearlong project aimed at eradicating the pigs in New Mexico. It marks the first time the U.S. Department of Agriculture has teamed up with a state in order to develop a comprehensive plan for getting rid of the pigs.
“I commissioned a study on the feral hog problem in 2011 to determine the distribution of feral hogs on state trust lands because they were becoming a threat to domestic livestock, native wildlife and human healthy, as well as posing an economic threat,” New Mexico State Land Commissioner Ray Powell, who is also a veterinarian, said in February. “We need to get a handle on this problem now, and this money moves us closer to our goal of removing them from our state.”