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A Comprehensive Nine-Year Case History of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Educational Impacts on Wild Pig Damage Abatement in Texas

  • Author(s): Kubecka, Jana
  • Strong, Robert
  • Higginbotham, Billy
  • Briers, Gary
  • Pope, Paul
  • et al.
Abstract

Texas has the largest wild pig population in the nation, estimated at 2.6 million animals. Damage to agronomic enterprises was conservatively estimated in 2004 at $52 million annually with total economic damage to agriculture and the environment in urban, suburban, and rural Texas possibly reaching 10 times that figure. In response to damage caused by this invasive exotic species, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service increased educational programming efforts of wild pigs and damage abatement. From 2006-2014, project funding from multiple sources facilitated the development and deployment of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service-led landowner education via one-on-one contacts, group meetings, demonstrations, and publications. Website availability and mass media contacts, including television and radio interviews and newspaper and magazine articles, were also utilized to increase public awareness and education on wild pigs and damage abatement. Participants (n = 21,752) attending Extension educational events were surveyed (n = 13,054) to characterize damage and control efforts as well as measure the impacts of education efforts. The most commonly reported negative impacts by landowners were pastures/hay meadows (72%) and owner/employee time (38%), while the most commonly used control technique prior to participation in an educational event was trap and destroy (51%). The average amount of losses attributable to wild pigs in the year prior to attending an educational program was $4,764 each and their predicted loss after participation decreased to $3,565. Over 98% of respondents indicated they increased their knowledge of wild pigs and damage abatement and planned to adopt an average of three new management practices each, with the most commonly cited new practices being using larger traps and pre-baiting wild pigs. A Net Promoter Score of 60.4% indicated that survey respondents were very pleased with the information they received by attending an Extension educational event directed at wild pigs and the abatement of their damage. This educational model can serve as a template for other states dealing with wild pigs as an emerging issue whenever their negative impacts on agriculture, the environment, and human health and safety occur.

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