Tipping the scales at 200 pounds or more, feral swine leave a path of destruction wherever they roam. As they compete with livestock for grazing rights, ruin crops, and trample Tribal heritage sites, these wild pigs pose an ever-increasing threat in Indian Country and in 41 States, where they cause an estimated $1.5 billion in damage and management costs each year. Feral swine also have the potential to carry and spread more than 30 diseases, including several that could affect domestic swine herds and even humans.
Recognizing the many dangers feral swine represent, the U.S. Congress appropriated $20 million in fiscal year (FY) 2014 for a national effort, spearheaded by APHIS, to combat these harmful animals. In response, APHIS is in the process of establishing a National Feral Swine Damage Management Program, which is intended to bring under one umbrella damage management programs already in operation from coast to coast. A draft environmental impact statement (EIS) was made available to the Tribes and the public for review and comment in December 2014. The comment period closed February 2, 2015. After APHIS considers the comments, it will publish a final EIS and implement the program, using one of several previously considered management approaches.
In the meantime, APHIS is interested in increasing its involvement with Tribal partners wanting to reduce problems caused by feral swine. Collaborative projects developed through these partnering teams are considered annually for additional funding. For more information, interested Tribes may contact APHIS’ Feral Swine National Damage Management Program Manager, Dale Nolte, at Dale.Nolte@aphis.usda.gov or (970) 266-6049.
To report feral swine activity on Tribal lands and request assistance, Tribes can contact State wildlife and agriculture officials or APHIS’ Wildlife Services program toll free at 1-866-4USDAWS (1-866-487-3297).