Wild pig population blooming in San Diego County; Supervisors look into reducing problem to avoid spread of disease

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted today to have staffers look at ways of getting rid of an estimated 150 wild pigs countywide.

Feral pigs are not native to the area. The rooting creatures can tear up oak seedlings and crops, pollute streams and spread diseases. The progenitors of the local population are believed to be a Russian variety of pig that was released in the San Diego River watershed about four years ago by someone raising them on the Capitan Grande Indian Reservation.

Most of the pigs have been found on publicly owned land managed by the Cleveland National Forest, California State Parks, The San Diego Public Utilities District and the Barona and Viejas tribal reservations. Some hunters and wildlife experts have put the San Diego County population closer to 300.

”There’s a growing problem in our backcountry that could easily spread throughout the region — and it’s called feral pigs,” Supervisor Dianne Jacob said.

The pigs can transmit diseases to livestock and humans via contaminated water or when they are eaten, said Scott Tremor of the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Robert Scheid of the Inter-Governmental Group on Feral Pig Impacts said the pigs could start breeding with colonies in Riverside County and Baja California, and tackling the problem then would be more expensive.

”Feral pigs are just furry four-legged biological time bombs and, if we allow their populations to explode, we will be spending enormous amounts of money and resources,” Scheid said.

Scheid said professional hunters could use traps, shoot them from helicopters or use dogs to track and hunt them down, in coordination with traditional hunters, he said.

”We have the benefit of having a relatively small population and an isolated population that we believe, through speaking with experts, can be eradicated,” Scheid said. ”But the window of opportunity is closing every day that these pigs are populating in San Diego County.”

Eradication efforts could include legislation designating the pigs, currently considered a game species, a pest. That would allow hunters more ways of killing them and would give governments more funding options, he said. Environmental documents were being processed by California State Parks and the U.S. Forest Service for the development of a feral pig management program. ”We have an opportunity to create a template in San Diego County on how to get ahead of the curve,” Scheid said.

The board voted 5-0 to request staff to continue to stay involved and to report back with updates, including legislative and funding opportunities. Jacob said it was logical for state and federal agencies to take the lead on any actions that would take place.

Authorities have discussed options for controlling the wild pigs for more than a year.

9 Responses to "Wild pig population blooming in San Diego County; Supervisors look into reducing problem to avoid spread of disease"

  1. nikke shelton   March 15, 2012 at 1:59 am

    Better hurry, pigs reproduce at age 6 months and have 6 to 8 piglets. You do the math! Let people draw tags and go shoot them before its to late. (already is though!)

    Reply
  2. observant   March 15, 2012 at 7:51 am

    Wow! With a reproductiver rate like that, it looks like humans have some competition!

    Reply
  3. Preston   March 15, 2012 at 8:23 am

    We could trap them, shoot them from helicopters or use dogs to help kill them off or we could stop killing everything on the planet that annoys us.

    Reply
  4. Fallbrook Resident since 86   March 15, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Are you sure that you’re not referring to the politicians that are now running rampent?

    Wait they might be state employees ;no county employees……..

    Reply
  5. sdp   March 15, 2012 at 9:59 am

    @ Preston

    You apparently have no concept of how destructive intruduction of non-native species can be to the environment. It’s not a matter of “annoyance”. It’s a matter of disruption, imbalance and displacement of native species. Maybe you should educate yourself about the problems caused by idiotic humans.

    Go do some research about Asian Carp, Africanized honeybees, snakes and lizards in Florida, or even the local Arundo which is clogging up our local rivers. Get informed.

    Reply
  6. Fallbrook Resident Since 86   March 15, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    To sdp

    Your point is well stated but I’m afraid that it also applies to Homo Sapiens………………….

    There is an old indian saying to the effect that before the white man the waters were pure, the earth provided plenty of food and the air was fresh and clean…..but the whiteman thought he could improve on this.

    We also need to reduce the burden we put on the environment.

    Reply
  7. fu   March 15, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    @sdp

    "You apparently have no concept of how destructive intruduction of non-native species can be to the environment"

    Add to your destructive list homo sapiens. There’s now more than 3,000,000 of those pesky critters running loose in San Diego County doing a lot more damage than 150 pigs ever will.

    Reply
  8. Preston   March 16, 2012 at 7:02 am

    I guess with the destruction man has done to the Planet we should be glad we are at the top of the food chain.

    Reply
  9. Florez   June 23, 2012 at 9:43 am

    If they are about to get rid of these pigs in the furture, let the Environmental Agency’s and who ever is involved pay for it out of there Budget not the Tax Payer.

    Reply

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