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Title: Estimation of the number of wild pigs found in the United States

Abstract

Based on a compilation of three estimation approaches, the total nationwide population of wild pigs in the United States numbers approximately 6.3 million animals, with that total estimate ranging from 4.4 up to 11.3 million animals. The majority of these numbers (99 percent), which were encompassed by ten states (i.e., Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas), were based on defined estimation methodologies (e.g., density estimates correlated to the total potential suitable wild pig habitat statewide, statewide harvest percentages, statewide agency surveys regarding wild pig distribution and numbers). In contrast to the pre-1990 estimates, none of these more recent efforts, collectively encompassing 99 percent of the total, were based solely on anecdotal information or speculation. To that end, one can defensibly state that the wild pigs found in the United States number in the millions of animals, with the nationwide population estimated to arguably vary from about four million up to about eleven million individuals.

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River National Lab. (SRNL)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1169581
Report Number(s):
SRNL-STI-2014-00292
DOE Contract Number:
AC09-08SR22470
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Mayer, J. Estimation of the number of wild pigs found in the United States. United States: N. p., 2014. Web. doi:10.2172/1169581.
Mayer, J. Estimation of the number of wild pigs found in the United States. United States. doi:10.2172/1169581.
Mayer, J. Fri . "Estimation of the number of wild pigs found in the United States". United States. doi:10.2172/1169581. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1169581.
@article{osti_1169581,
title = {Estimation of the number of wild pigs found in the United States},
author = {Mayer, J.},
abstractNote = {Based on a compilation of three estimation approaches, the total nationwide population of wild pigs in the United States numbers approximately 6.3 million animals, with that total estimate ranging from 4.4 up to 11.3 million animals. The majority of these numbers (99 percent), which were encompassed by ten states (i.e., Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas), were based on defined estimation methodologies (e.g., density estimates correlated to the total potential suitable wild pig habitat statewide, statewide harvest percentages, statewide agency surveys regarding wild pig distribution and numbers). In contrast to the pre-1990 estimates, none of these more recent efforts, collectively encompassing 99 percent of the total, were based solely on anecdotal information or speculation. To that end, one can defensibly state that the wild pigs found in the United States number in the millions of animals, with the nationwide population estimated to arguably vary from about four million up to about eleven million individuals.},
doi = {10.2172/1169581},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2014},
month = {Fri Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2014}
}

Technical Report:

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  • The existence of problems with wild pigs (Sus scrofa) is nothing new to the Western Hemisphere. Damage by these introduced animals was reported as far back as 1505 by the early Spanish colonies in the Caribbean, where wild pigs were killing the colonists cattle. Droves of these animals also ravaged cultivated crops of maize and sugarcane on islands in the West Indies during this same time period. These wild pigs reportedly were very aggressive and often attacked Spanish soldiers hunting rebellious Indians or escaped slaves on these islands, especially when these animals were cornered. The documentation of such impacts bymore » introduced populations of this species in the United States has subsequently increased in recent years, and continued up through the present (Towne and Wentworth. 1950, Wood and Barrett 1979, Mayer and Brisbin 1991, Dickson et al. 2001). In spite of a fairly constant history in this country since the early 1900s, wild pigs have had a dramatic recent increase in both distribution and numbers in the United States. Between 1989 and 2009, the number of states reporting the presence of introduced wild pigs went from 19 up to as many as 44. This increase, in part natural, but largely manmade, has caused an increased workload and cost for land and resource managers in areas where these new populations are found. This is the direct result of the damage that these introduced animals do. The cost of both these impacts and control efforts has been estimated to exceed a billion dollars annually (Pimentel 2007). The complexity of this problem has been further complicated by the widespread appeal and economic potential of these animals as a big game species (Tisdell 1982, Degner 1989). Wild pigs are a controversial problem that is not going away and will likely only get worse with time. Not only do they cause damage, but wild pigs are also survivors. They reproduce at a rate faster than any other mammal of comparable size, native or introduced; they can eat just about anything; and, they can live just about anywhere. On top of that, wild pigs are both very difficult to control and, with the possible exception of island ecosystems, almost impossible to eradicate (Dickson et al. 2001, Sweeney et al. 2003). The solution to the wild pig problem has not been readily apparent. The ultimate answer as to how to control these animals has not been found to date. In many ways, wild pigs are America's most successful large invasive species. All of which means that wild pigs are a veritable nightmare for land and resource managers trying to keep the numbers of these animals and the damage that they do under control. Since the more that one knows about an invasive species, the easier it is to deal with and hopefully control. For wild pigs then, it is better to 'know thy enemy' than to not, especially if one expects to be able to successfully control them. In an effort to better 'know thy enemy,' a two-day symposium was held in Augusta, Georgia, on April 21-22, 2004. This symposium was organized and sponsored by U.S.D.A. Forest Service-Savannah River (USFS-SR), U. S. Department of Energy-Savannah River Operations Office (DOE-SR), the Westinghouse Savannah River Company (WSRC), the South Carolina Chapter of the Soil & Water Conservation Society, and the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL). The goal of this symposium was to assemble researchers and land managers to first address various aspects of the biology and damage of wild pigs, and then review the control techniques and management of this invasive species. The result would then be a collected synopsis of what is known about wild pigs in the United States. Although the focus of the symposium was primarily directed toward federal agencies, presenters also included professionals from academic institutions, and private-sector control contractors and land managers. Most of the organizations associated with implementing this symposium were affiliated with the Savannah River Site (SRS), a 803 km{sup 2} federal nuclear facility, located in western South Carolina along the Savannah River. The SRS was a very appropriate facility to host this symposium. The SRS has been dealing with its wild pig problem since the early 1950s. A lot has been learned about these animals at the site over the ensuing decades. Between the USFS-SR, DOE-SR, SREL, and the site's management and operations contractor, which is currently Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, SRS organizations have conducted a wealth of research on this wild pig population, spanning a broad spectrum of topics and disciplines. In fact, the SRS wild pig population is among the most studied, and possibly is the best studied population of this invasive species found in the United States today. Unfortunately, with all of that work, the ultimate answer to controlling wild pigs and their impacts still has not been found. This volume represents the collected synopsis that was the goal of the aforementioned symposium.« less
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