Skip to main content

Terrain, weather can predict wild pig movements

Michael Terrazas

New UGA research could help limit damage the pigs cause

Managing the United States’ growing wild pig population has become a significant challenge over the past few decades, but new research from the University of Georgia may help landowners and government agencies fine-tune their strategies for limiting crop and property damage caused by the animals.

By tracking wild pig movements in and around the 310-square-mile Savannah River Site near Aiken, South Carolina, researchers at UGA’s Savannah River Ecology Lab and Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources confirmed some long-held suspicions about how pigs establish their home ranges—and shed new light on the question, as well. Not only are home ranges largely defined by the types of habitat pigs prefer, the researchers found, but air temperature and weather also are significant factors in predicting where animals will be at any given time.

This is important. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, up to 9 million wild pigs in the United States cause some $1.5 billion in damages each year, trampling crops, rooting up turf and topsoil, destroying levees and rights of way, and generally wreaking havoc across ever-widening swaths of the country. Both public agencies and private landowners engage in tactics such as trapping and aerial hunting to keep pig populations under control.

 

Read the full story on UGA's news website.

Associated Personnel:
Article Type: