ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE)- New Mexico is fighting back against a dangerous and costly invasive species– feral hogs. Eighteen months into an eradication effort by more than 20 agencies and Native American tribes, officials say their efforts are working.
Feral hogs cause more than $1 billion worth of damage each year in the U.S.
In January 2013 New Mexico got serious about getting rid of the non-native swine. At that point, feral hogs were found in 17 of 33 counties.
USDA Wildlife Biologist Brian Archuleta tells News 13 through the state’s eradication program, feral hogs only remain in seven counties. About 750 feral hogs have been removed in the past year and a half.
“We have used snaring, we have used night shooting, but our primary methods have been the cage trap, corral trap and aerial shooting from helicopters,” Archuleta said.
New Mexicans have also been taking aim at the swine since 2011. This week in Timberon, N.M., residents killed a large male feral hog that was rooting around in town and acting aggressive.
Archuleta says the plan is to eliminate feral hogs in New Mexico in the next two to five years.
“Removing these feral hogs in new Mexico is vitally important, not only to the habitat, but to the protection of the habitat and the threatened endangered species that occupy these riparian zones,” Archuleta said.
Officials say the ongoing drought has helped control the feral hog population.