Oklahoma’s environment is under attack.
Crops, pastures, trees and wildlife habitats are being threatened. Even cemetery headstones are in the line of fire, Reuters reports.
The Pig Army has declared war on Oklahoma, and farmers and ranchers are doing their best to fight back. But the ranks of this battalion of wild boars aren’t filled with pot-bellies, the news services’ Kevin Murphy reports:
They are vicious critters that typically grow to 200 pounds, can run 30 miles per hour, jump three feet high and climb out of traps with walls up to six feet high, experts say.
Another terrifying detail: This pig army attacks at night.
They seldom appear in the daytime making them hard to count, but [John Mayer, manager of the environmental science group at the Savannah River National Laboratory in Aiken, South Carolina] estimates there are 5.5 million feral pigs nationwide. There could be up to 8 million, up from a maximum 2 million in 1990, he said.
The pigs have evolved from wild boars or domestic farm pigs that have escaped, Reuters reports, and are prevalent in 36 states. “Texas is the most pig-plagued state, with an estimated 2.9 million in 2011,” Reuters reports.
People have tried shooting and trapping the pigs, but authorities are also considering “poisons and birth control to control the population,” the news service reports:
“They are here to stay and its going to take a huge concerted effort to get the numbers under control,” said Russell Stevens, a wildlife and fisheries consultant for the Oklahoma-based Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.