Florida going after wild pigs

Nov. 1, 2010 at 10:18 AM
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ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Florida is home to about 500,000 feral pigs, which are an expensive nuisance to agriculture, property and humans, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Florida's Lake County has spent more than $32 million to buy public lands and remove exotic plants, but the wild pigs are threatening the restoration efforts, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

"It looks like rototillers were turned loose," said Wendy Breeden, director of public resources in Lake County, where 55 feral hogs were shot or trapped last year.

Lake County officials have decided to spend as much as $30,000 to help prevent the fast-breeding pigs from plowing their way through public lands.

The pigs are voracious eaters, and thrive in Florida's warm, moist climate where sows can produce two litters of up to a dozen sucklings per year.

"Florida is almost too perfect for them," said William Giuliano, a feral-hog expert and associate professor in the Department of Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida.

The pigs were brought to North America in the 1500s by Spanish explorers.

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