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FALL 2011
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Around the Quad

Pigs Gone Wild

Wild Pigs
Credit: Rex Allan Jones

Feral swine are running wild in Cortland, Onondaga, and Tioga Counties in central New York, according to CALS wildlife expert Paul Curtis.The pigs are more than just a growing nuisance. In addition to having nondiscriminating dining tastes—from the eggs of nesting birds and acorns to edible roots—they can also carry the pseudorabies virus, which can spread to livestock and pets. Of the 27 wild pigs captured and killed in 2010, two tested positive for the disease.

The feral pigs in central New York are relatives of Eurasian wild boars, wild-living escaped domesticated pigs, or a hybrid of the two. As many as a couple of hundred are roaming the state, says Curtis, associate professor of natural resources.

And unlike many domesticated pigs, feral pigs aren’t known for their sweet dispositions. Since 2008, there have been three cases of feral swine aggression toward humans in New York and two reports of attacks against dogs, one of which died, according to a USDA report.