Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Law Aimed at Controlling Expansion of Invasive Wild Hogs

From TWF 

  NASHVILLE, TENN. - A new law strengthening the penalties for illegal translocation of wild-appearing swine goes into effect July 1, thanks to an effort supported by the Tennessee Wildlife Federation (TWF) and the state wildlife resources agency, along with statewide agriculture and public health interests.
  Under the provisions of the new law, a person who illegally transports or releases wild hogs (i.e., wild-appearing swine) into the wild without documented approval from the state Department of Agriculture can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, fined as much as $2,500 and sentenced to up to 11 months and 29 days in jail for each wild-appearing swine illegally translocated.
State Rep. Ron Lollar (R-Bartlett) and Sen. Steve Southerland (R-Morristown) sponsored the legislation. Earlier this year, TWF and TWRA joined into a Memorandum of Understanding with the state Farm Bureau Federation, Soybean Producers, Pork Producers and departments of health and agriculture to work towards the eradication of wild hogs where practical, and to control populations elsewhere.
  "Something needed to be done to address the proliferation, which is reaching epidemic proportions in parts of the state," said Rep. Lollar, who served as chair of the House Conservation and Environment Committee.
  "This new law is another tool to protect farmers and landowners from the destruction the pigs cause, and hopefully it gets the attention of anyone who is considering the illegal transportation and release of this invasive species."
  Last year, TWRA announced new measures to combat the growing hog problem, removing the non-native wild pigs from big-game status and marking them for eradication through aggressive trapping, and working with landowners to facilitate their removal by virtually any means necessary.
  "These pigs can wipe out agricultural crops and wildlife habitat with amazing efficiency," said Mike Butler, CEO of the Tennessee Wildlife Federation. "The evidence shows that wild hog populations are popping up in non-contiguous areas, which suggests that they are being transported and released illegally. This new law is a much stronger deterrent."
Wild hogs are prolific reproducers, with a sow capable of bearing a litter of 12-15 piglets every 115 days. They do massive damage to the land through feeding and wallowing; they are also omnivorous, and will eat just about anything they can find. Studies have clearly shown that the hogs eat turkey eggs and poults, and even the occasional fawn or other unsuspecting mammal.
  Other ground-nesting birds, amphibians and reptiles can suffer population decreases, and the pigs serve as a reservoir for diseases that can affect both livestock and humans.
  Wild hogs also root up acres of land, which requires significant time and money to repair. In the U.S., damage caused by wild hogs is conservatively estimated at $1.5 billion annually.
  Founded in 1946, the not-for-profit Tennessee Wildlife Federation's mission is to champion the conservation, sound management and enjoyment of Tennessee's wildlife and natural resources for current and future generations through stewardship, advocacy and education. For more information, visit

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