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Open Access Publications from the University of California

An Overview of San Diego County’s Ongoing Feral Pig Eradication Project


Until 2006, San Diego County remained one of two counties in California that did not have a resident population of non-native wild pigs. Since that time, three or more introductions of pigs resulted in the establishment of several populations of wild pigs that grew and were believed to span the backcountry of San Diego County. Feral pigs have the potential to harm sensitive habitats, compete with native species, negatively impact drinking water quality, damage agriculture and rangelands, destroy archeological sites, and transmit diseases. They also pose a significant threat to the network of protected areas in San Diego County. In 2009, affected public land management agencies began working together to address San Diego’s pig problem in an alllands approach by forming an Intergovernmental Pig Group. The Group determined that eradicating pigs was feasible, especially given recent drought conditions, and should be the ultimate goal of the project. In the summer of 2014, USDA APHIS Wildlife Services began a large-scale effort to remove pigs across San Diego County. We provide an update on the status of the eradication effort and share information we have gathered on the San Diego pig population from remote cameras and samples collected from pigs taken during this effort. We also outline our strategy for the future to achieve eradication, including how an independent monitoring study will be used to certify that eradication has been, and remains, successful.

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