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Going Public: The Impact of Feral Hogs in Southeast Missouri

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MDC
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A sounder of feral hogs can root up a large field overnight.

Feral hogs are a problem in southeast Missouri and the Missouri Department of Conservation is working with the U. S. Department of Agriculture to trap and eliminate them.

Candice Davis is the Media Specialist with the Missouri Department of Conservation and the host of KRCU’s Discover Nature. She stopped by the studios to tell us more about the many issues caused by feral hogs.

Feral hogs can cause financial loss for farmers and landowners. A social group of 10 hogs can destory 10-20 acres of land overnight. Davis told us that the financial impact of feral hogs is well over $1.5 billion.

The hogs cause loss of habitat for native wildlife because of their rooting and wallowing behaviors that contribute to soil erosion and the destruction of natural areas. In addition, they compete with native animals for food and will eat just about anything they come in contact with. Finally, feral hogs carry diseases such as swine brucellosis, pseudorabies, trichinosis and leptospirosis.

The Missouri Department of Conservation has reassigned staff to help with the effort. Davis told us that if farmers believe they have feral hogs on their land, they should notify MDC. She said, "We want them to either call their local conservation office or USDA office or go online. We have a website, it's mdc.mo.gov/feralhogs." There is a form on the website where a farmer or landowner can report feral hog sightings and request help.