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Overview of Feral Swine Management and Elimination Efforts in New York (2008-2016)

  • Author(s): Jackling, Mark E.
  • Gansowski, Justin T.
  • Hojnacki, Daniel M.
  • Gosser, Allen L.
  • et al.
Abstract

State officials first discovered free-roaming feral swine breeding in New York from 2000-2005. Escapes from highfence shooting facilities and Eurasian wild boar breeding operations, as well as intentional releases to create new hunting opportunities, allowed these animals to become established in four distinct populations. Utilizing a strategy of “whole sounder” management, in which entire family groups of swine are captured all at once, USDA APHIS, Wildlife Services and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation removed 209 feral swine from 2008-2014. It appears that feral swine populations were eliminated from New York, as there have been no confirmed sightings since October 2014. Wildlife Services is leading a multi-faceted monitoring effort that includes the use of trail cameras, aerial surveys, detection dog surveys, and the development of an early detection network to reduce the risk of a reinvasion caused by failure to detect the last remaining individuals. Additionally, New York addressed the problem at its roots by passing legislation that prohibits hunting, propagation, trade, and possession of Eurasian wild boars and Eurasian wild boar hybrids. Much of the state’s feral swine elimination program success is attributed to lessons learned from successes and failures of past and ongoing wild pig elimination campaigns around the world. New York encountered unique challenges requiring innovative solutions that are informative to future invasive species eradication efforts. We provide an overview of the New York efforts to eliminate feral swine with an emphasis on education/outreach, regulatory action, lethal control, and monitoring.

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