4:15pm

Fri July 1, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Wild Pig Numbers Increase in Kentucky

The feral pig problem is spreading in Kentucky. The animals aren’t native to the commonwealth, but were illegally brought into the state and let loose for hunting. They’ve been copiously reproducing ever since. In 2009, wild pigs were only in about 23 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. Now, they’re in 44, and spreading. Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Mark Marraccini says the animals have few redeeming characteristics.

“They’re very destructive,” he said. “They carry a host of diseases; they can infect livestock, pets and even people. They have pretty incredible reproductive rates, they destroy habitat. They compete with native wildlife; they simply out-compete native wildlife for the food that’s there.”

In other areas, like the Bernheim Forest, the wild pig problem has improved. There were a number of the animals for several years, but the number seems to have decreased lately according to a spokeswoman.

It’s illegal to bring wild pigs into the state, and two people have been convicted so far this yearand fined. Hunting the animals is legal, and the meat can harvested for bacon, ham, and other pork products.