The newly formed Feral Swine Control Committee (FSCC) has prepared a feral hog surveillance plan that will focus on collecting blood samples for the detection of diseases and researching ways to control the population of feral hogs in Louisiana.
"The Feral Hog Disease Surveillance and Population Control Plan's" overall goals are to: 1) identify diseases carried by feral swine and their prevalence; 2) minimize the effects of the diseases on wildlife; and 3) control the population of feral hogs in Louisiana. This plan reflects a cooperative relationship between the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Services.
House Concurrent Resolution No. 192 requested the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to study all possible methods to reduce the number of feral hogs on private lands adjacent to wildlife management areas. In response to this request, an organizational meeting was arranged with the Feral Swine Control Committee (FSCC) on Nov. 6, 2007 in the Office of the State Veterinarian to discuss measures to aid in the control of feral hog populations. The following people were present:
Dwight LeBlanc - USDA/APHIS Wildlife Services
Scott Woodruff - USDA/APHIS Wildlife Services
Nan Huff - LDWF
Emile LeBlanc - LDWF
Dr. Martha Littlefield - LDAF
Dr. Henry Moreau - LDAF
Blood samples for the detection of diseases will be taken from feral hogs on Jackson-Bienville and Sandy Hollow Wildlife Management Areas (WMA). The different geographical locations of the WMAs will provide a relatively unbiased estimate about the presence (or absence) of swine brucellosis, classical swine fever, and pseudorabies in the feral hog population in Louisiana. Jackson Bienville WMA is comprised of 32,185 acres in North Central Louisiana. Sandy Hollow WMA is comprised of 3,514 acres in Southeast Louisiana.
Wild hogs cause extensive damage to natural wildlife habitat, privately managed food plots for deer and turkey, farm ponds and watering holes for livestock. In Louisiana, the frequency of wild pigs around agricultural areas has caused damage to sugarcane, rice and cornfields. The wild omnivores also compete with native wildlife for food resources, prey on young domestic animals and wildlife, and carry diseases that can affect pets, livestock, wildlife and people.
Recent research suggests that the increasing hog population of western Louisiana is not only causing detriment to terrestrial flora and fauna, but is negatively impacting native freshwater mussels and insects by contributing E. coli to water systems.
The estimated feral hog population in the United States is over 4 million and growing. "We do not anticipate complete eradication of the state's wild hog population, or for the problems to be solved immediately," said Nan Huff, LDWF's wildlife disease coordinator. "The damage by feral hogs did not happen suddenly and the damage will not be resolved quickly. For that reason, this cooperative effort is the most logical and advantageous approach to this challenging problem."
For more information, contact Nan Huff at 225-765-0823 or firstname.lastname@example.org.