New Law Aimed at Controlling Expansion of Invasive Wild Hogs
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
"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.
birds, amphibians and reptiles can suffer population decreases, and the
pigs serve as a reservoir for diseases that can affect both livestock and
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
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 www.tnwf.org.