Update July 30, 2014: By a 5-0 vote, Supervisors adopted the feral pig eradication plan to trap and shoot wild pigs across our region.
By Miriam Raftery
Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service
July 29, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--They wallow in waterways and root up sensitive habitat. They breed prolifically—and they eat almost anything—from acorns to small animals—even goats with horns! Those portly porkers – feral pigs in East County’s backcountry—can weigh up to 250 pounds. The largest wild pig caught anywhere--a gargantuan specimen dubbed "Hogzilla," tipped the scales at over 800 pounds.
Feral pigs are descendants of domestic pigs run wild and European boars brought over by Spaniards in the 1700s. Locally, San Diego's pig population has been around since only around 2006. We don't know how they got here. One rumor is that hunters released a few pigs as game animals. Another theory is that the pigs migrated in from elsewhere in California or Mexico. However they came, they've found fertile ground locally, where the number of wild pigs is now estimated at over a thousand.
Hunting wild pigs is legal in California on private property and tribal lands – though not in our region's parks, preserves, or wilderness areas. But bringing home the bacon isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Public has until July 18 to submit comments
June 24, 2012 (San Diego)--Cleveland National Forest (CNF) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have released an Environmental Assessment (EA) for feral pig management on public lands in San Diego, Riverside and Orange Counties, as well as on the Capitan Grande Indian Reservation.
Feral pigs, which are not native to our region, have caused extensive damage by rooting that destroys riparian waterways, habitat and forage for wildlife. The plan includes 600,000 acres of public lands, including many in East County.
April 1, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Activists have voiced outrage over the U.S. Forest Service’s announced plans to use helicopters to shoot the growing feral pig population running wild across rural East County. Now, a grassroots organization known as Save Our Wild Pigs Action Committee (SOWPAC) has announced plans to rescue the imperiled swine.
“This is a ham-handed and heartless scheme to eradicate these animals,” said Wanda Hogg, SOWPAC spokesperson, who asked her her face not be shown. “SOWPAC’s mission is to rescue these wild pigs instead.”
By Billie Jo Jannen
Firefighters shoot back at border fire
September 29, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) -- A Mexican fire that threatened the border area between Castle Rock and Bell Valley over the weekend was turned back handily at the border fence Sunday night by a line of firefighters armed with a variety of ignition devices.
That’s right—I said ignition devices.
March 31, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – It's hog heaven in East County. Wild boars and sows have startled horses, hikers and residents in Alpine, Ramona, Poway and other backcountry areas in recent months. A Fish and Game expert estimates there may be as many as 200 to 300 feral hogs rooting their way across East County, the Union-Tribune reported yesterday.
But while bacon-on-the-hoof may provide tempting targets for hunters, the non-native species poses threats to agriculture, livestock and the environment, also raising potential human health and safety issues.