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Planet of the pigs

A few nights ago, I watched a documentary called “Pig Bomb” on the Discovery Channel. The first three minutes of the program are here. The program, focused in Abbeville, GA,  raised many more questions than it answered.

Some observations of the program (which featured “English subtitles” for some of the pig hunters in Georgia  [U.S.] with strong dialects :-) ), were that wild pigs in America are increasing in both physical size and ferocity, as well as geographic range, that hunting pressure alone has not been sufficient to deal with the population growth, and that wild pigs in America may have bred with larger, meaner Eurasian wild boar, which have rapidly expanded their range and population in Europe and Asia over the last 30 years. These wild boar have attacked and killed humans.

The previous link also refers to genetics work being done in the laboratory of Dr. Holly Ernest, DVM, Ph.D. of the faculty at the University of California, Davis, (who earned her Masters and DVM at one of my alma maters, Ohio State). Dr. Ernest’s lab has performed population genetics studies of wild pigs in California and on California’s Channel Islands.

If hunting (with dogs) pressure is insufficient to contain the population growth of wild pigs in places like Georgia (U.S.), what will happen in places like California, where there is much less hunting pressure and a lot of people do not understand the role of predation (or hunting) in biology (and conservation)?

The Discovery Channel program got me thinking, and provided me with scientific papers where I can learn more. Take a look at the Pig Bomb and view the Discovery Channel Web site videos if you get a chance! Fellow Californians, some of you may change your thinking.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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