The state of New Mexico is quaking in its boots over the spread of feral hogs.
A report in the Las Cruces Sun-News paints a bleak picture:
They eat young livestock and all manner of native wildlife. They wipe out farm fields and destroy ecological habitat. They carry a number of diseases.
They’re feral hogs, an invasive species, and federal officials say they’re likely on the way to Doña Ana County.
The animals, which have spread from two New Mexico counties seven years ago to 17 today, are present along the Rio Grande in neighboring Sierra County, said Alan May, state director for U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services. And they travel along the river because it’s a source of water.
“You’ll probably eventually have feral hogs in Doña Ana County,” he said.
Feral pigs have been spreading mostly in eastern New Mexico counties. But somehow, likely because humans transported them, they’ve reached the Rio Grande basin, May said. They’ve got a presence in Sierra, Socorro and Valencia counties, too.
The animals, a cross between domestic pigs and Eurasian hogs introduced by hunters into the U.S., can reach up to 250 or 300 pounds, May said. They breed prolifically, travel in groups of about 10 to 15 and are difficult to eradicate. And they “eat almost anything.”
“These guys are really bad news in New Mexico,” he said. “Feral hogs are absolutely an environmental and ecological disaster. There will be a lot of property damage and probably some disease issues.”
Feral pigs are likely to reach Doña Ana County first at the Garfield and Hatch area, which is closest
to Sierra County. That valley’s area’s economic base is farming, and many farmers rely on buried, drip irrigation systems.
May said the pigs can eat crops and sometimes young lambs, goats and calves, and they root up fields.