Feral Pigs Going Hog Wild Across Growing Area Of US - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Feral Pigs Going Hog Wild Across Growing Area Of US

Posted: Updated:

NBCNEWS.COM - Digging up fields and lawns, killing livestock and spreading disease, wild pigs have gone from a regional nuisance to one rapidly spreading across the nation.

The animals have razor-sharp tusks, a bottomless appetite and no natural predators, and experts say the invasion of the feral pigs has become a major problem that is moving north. "This truly is becoming a national crisis,'' John Mayer, the manager of environmental science at the Savannah River (S.C.) National Laboratory, told TODAY on Friday. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that wild hogs, which can weigh more than 200 pounds, are responsible for more than $1.5 billion in agriculture damage and destruction every year.

TODAY's Kerry Sanders took a ride in a helicopter to see them firsthand, watching dozens on the run across the 2,000-acre South Fork Ranch in Okeechobee, Fla. "It's like having a rat in your house,'' Southfork Land and Cattle Company's Bill Wallace told Sanders. "They're just not a good thing."

In 1987, there were an estimated two million wild pigs in about 20 states, primarily in the South and concentrated in Texas and Florida. Now there are an estimated six to eight million wild pigs roaming 47 states. "This increase that we've seen in wild pigs is unquestionably dramatic,'' Mayer said. "We don't have another species here in the U.S. that has increased at this same rate."

Experts say the explosion in the wild pig population is partially due to hunters transporting them across state lines, plus some escaping from hunting preserves.

The animals also produce two litters a year, rapidly swelling their numbers. All of it could add up to a higher grocery bill for Americans. "The reason people should care is because eventually it could result in increased costs at the marketplace,'' Wallace said.

  • National NewsMore>>

  • NEW DETAILS: Survivors Describe Escape From Sinking Ferry

    NEW DETAILS: Survivors Describe Escape From Sinking Ferry

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 3:52 PM EDT2014-04-16 19:52:10 GMT
    MOKPO, South Korea (AP) - Survivors of a ferry sinking off the coast of South Korea are describing how they jumped into the frigid water wearing life jackets and then swam to a nearby rescue boat.More >>
    MOKPO, South Korea (AP) - Survivors of a ferry sinking off the coast of South Korea are describing how they jumped into the frigid water wearing life jackets and then swam to a nearby rescue boat.More >>
  • UPDATE: Biden: Boston Marathon Survivors Are Inspiration

    UPDATE: Biden: Boston Marathon Survivors Are Inspiration

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 2:21 PM EDT2014-04-15 18:21:34 GMT
    BOSTON (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden says the courage shown by Boston Marathon survivors and those who lost loved ones is an inspiration for other Americans dealing with loss and tragedy.More >>
    BOSTON (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden says the courage shown by Boston Marathon survivors and those who lost loved ones is an inspiration for other Americans dealing with loss and tragedy.More >>
  • Cattle Battle: BLM To Pursue Effort To End Dispute With Rancher

    Cattle Battle: BLM To Pursue Effort To End Dispute With Rancher

    Monday, April 14 2014 10:08 AM EDT2014-04-14 14:08:14 GMT
    NEVADA, (AP) - A day after blinking in a showdown on the range, federal land managers pledged to pursue efforts to resolve a conflict with a southern Nevada rancher who has refused to pay grazing fees for 20 years. Bureau of Land Management spokesman Craig Leff said Sunday that the agency would continue to try to resolve the matter.More >>
    NEVADA, (AP) - A day after blinking in a showdown on the range, federal land managers pledged to pursue efforts to resolve a conflict with a southern Nevada rancher who has refused to pay grazing fees for 20 years. Bureau of Land Management spokesman Craig Leff said Sunday that the agency would continue to try to resolve the matter.
    More >>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • 3rd N. Spokane Fast Food Robbery In Three Days

    3rd N. Spokane Fast Food Robbery In Three Days

    Friday, April 18 2014 1:15 AM EDT2014-04-18 05:15:21 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Spokane Police tell us they have taken two people of interest into custody following a robbery at the Shadle Park McDonald's. It's the third fast food restaurant robbery in the Spokane area in the last three days. The robbery happened at about 6 p.m. Thursday at the McDonald's near N. Belt St. and W. Wellesley Ave.More >>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Spokane Police tell us they have taken two people of interest into custody following a robbery at the Shadle Park McDonald's. It's the third fast food restaurant robbery in the Spokane area in the last three days. The robbery happened at about 6 p.m. Thursday at the McDonald's near N. Belt St. and W. Wellesley Ave.More >>
  • Gruesome Murder Trial Continues In Spokane; Alex Rozier Reports

    Gruesome Murder Trial Continues In Spokane; Alex Rozier Reports

    Thursday, April 17 2014 8:35 PM EDT2014-04-18 00:35:52 GMT
    SPOKANE, WA. – The murder trial for suspected killer Daniel Arteaga continued at the Spokane County Courthouse on Thursday as one of the lead investigators took the stand discussing evidence found the night of Kim Schmidt’s death. Arteaga is on trial for the murder of Schmidt, a 34 year old mother he dated for more than 6 years.More >>
    SPOKANE, WA. – The murder trial for suspected killer Daniel Arteaga continued at the Spokane County Courthouse on Thursday as one of the lead investigators took the stand discussing evidence found the night of Kim Schmidt’s death. Arteaga is on trial for the murder of Schmidt, a 34 year old mother he dated for more than 6 years.More >>
  • The Isaac Foundation Helping Those Dealing With Autism

    The Isaac Foundation Helping Those Dealing With Autism

    Thursday, April 17 2014 8:31 PM EDT2014-04-18 00:31:07 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - New numbers from the Center For Disease Control and Prevention show more children are being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
    More >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - New numbers from the Center For Disease Control and Prevention show more children are being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. According to the CDC, autism spectrum disorder affects 1 in every 68 kids. There is no cure but therapy can help children with autism improve speech, motor skills and even their social interactions.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KHQ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.