Hogs Gone Wild

What two non-native species teach us about what NOT to do

Two animals introduced to the U.S. long ago clearly demonstrate the pitfalls of transferring wildlife outside their natural range. Now two biologists from the USDA, Craig Hicks and Caleb Wellman, are coming to Geauga Park District to detail how these invasive species threaten Ohio’s agriculture and ecosystems.

What: Hogs Gone Wild and Other Problem Wildlife

When: Tuesday, October 21 – 7-8:30 p.m.

Where: Big Creek Park, Donald W. Meyer Center, 9160 Robinson Road, Chardon Twp.

Those animals on the agenda are feral swine and mute swans.

mute-swan

feral-swine

The first invited invader, brought here almost 500 years ago, now wreaks havoc in 39 states when, three decades ago, it was only found in 17 states. Sometimes called a feral pig, wild boar or razorback, feral swine eat farmers’ crops, damage habitat with their wallowing and rooting, carry at least 30 diseases, and “hog” resources needed by native wild turkey, blue jays and other wildlife, such as acorns. Feral swine are found in more than 20 counties in Ohio, including Ashtabula, and breed in 13 counties.

Our second case, a bird released in North America in the late 1800s for a seemingly innocent purpose, first turned up in Ohio just over 100 years ago. We wanted Mute Swans to adorn ponds, but when we looked harder, we found an “ugly duckling” that destroys wetlands with feeding habits that increase water turbidity and reduce submerged aquatic vegetation. About the size of our native Trumpeter Swan, Mute Swans are not silent in their defense of territory and demand for the limited marsh space still found in Ohio.

Mr. Hicks and Mr. Wellman plan to tell us what steps are being taken to monitor swine and swan and to mitigate their damage, in cooperation with the Ohio Division of Wildlife and other agencies. Ohio Wildlife Services is conducting intense management efforts to reduce damage and loss in southeastern Ohio, and to eliminate newly emergent populations of feral swine in the western and northern portions of the state.

The Meyer Center is wheelchair/stroller accessible. Registration is not required to attend this talk, best suited for those school aged and older. Call 440-296-9516 with questions.

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Geauga News
Author: Geauga News