- Feral swine -- Control -- Oregon,
- Feral swine -- Environmental aspects -- Oregon,
- Wild boar -- Control -- Oregon,
- Oregon Invasive Species Council
Feral swine are defined as free roaming animals of the genus Sus that are not being held under domestic management or confinement. Swine have spread from Europe and Russia to habitats around the world via human introduction. Currently, feral swine populations are established on every continent except Antarctica. Unlike other large mammal invaders, swine have a high reproductive capacity and are omnivorous, which allows for a quick assimilation into most habitats. Once a breeding population is established in an area, the population can quickly increase and negatively impact the ecosystem. A successful invasion of feral swine is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to reverse. A feral swine pest risk assessment for Oregon, released in 2004, designated feral swine as a very high-risk species due to high potential for establishment, environmental and economic impacts, and disease transmission to wildlife, livestock and humans. Economic impacts on ecosystems and disease transmission to wildlife are difficult to assess, but restoration of ecosystems and losses to agriculture and livestock have been estimated to exceed US$800 million in the United States each year. Environmental impacts include facilitation of noxious weed invasions, shifts in dominant plant species, reduction of forest regeneration, and soil erosion. Facilitation of noxious weeds and erosion due to feral swine rooting are documented in Oregon. Feral swine in Oregon have not been implicated in disease transmission to humans, but the recent E. coli outbreak from spinach grown on a California farm that caused three deaths has been genetically traced to feral swine excrement deposited in spinach fields. The feral swine population in Oregon is currently small and dispersed. Few disturbances have been documented but state and federal biologists report regular occurrence of disturbances due to feral swine. Actions to prevent the effects of an invasion fall into three categories: management, control or eradication. Of the three categories, only eradication efforts have successfully slowed or reversed the effects of swine invasions. Case studies from California, Australia, Hawaii, the Galapagos Islands and the Channel Islands off the coast of California show that management and control efforts, while effective in the short term, have not successfully kept small feral swine populations from increasing to levels that are unmanageable and uncontrollable. A four-year feral swine eradication plan is proposed. The Plan includes recommended legislative changes to facilitate eradication, outreach and education, population assessment, rapid response, and eradication elements. A 0.5 FTE position is required at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to implement the plan. Eradication of feral swine in Oregon is estimated to require a four-year, $1.29 million effort. Follow-up control of new releases and escapes will require a maintenance effort estimated at less than $50,000 per year (excluding contingency funds for emergency response). These costs are small relative to the value of the $3.6 billion Oregon agriculture and livestock industries and the investment Oregon has made in riparian restoration efforts. Sustained control of feral swine in Oregon will require a longterm commitment that will include annual domestic swine marking, education, and monitoring.
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