Management of invasive wild pigs has been a hot topic in recent years and has arguably become one of the greatest wildlife management challenges facing natural resource professionals. The damage these animals cause to forestry, agriculture, and natural resources throughout North America has been tremendous and is often measured in billions of dollars of damage each year. Although many universities, states, and federal agencies have taken steps to resolve damage caused by wild pigs, there hasn’t been any national-level leadership to formalize this effort until now.
Spearheaded by Mark Smith, Mosley Environmental Associate Professor/Extension Specialist, the National Wild Pig Task Force (NWPTF) was established in 2016 to be a technical, scientific, and leadership alliance of federal, tribal, provincial, state and private conservation partners working to control, reduce damage caused by, or in some instances eradicate, free-ranging populations of wild pigs in North America.
The goals of the NWPTF are to provide national leadership and a collective voice for science-based control, damage reduction, and/or eradication of wild pigs, while providing a forum for the exchange of information among the natural resource management field and relevant stakeholder groups. The task force will also serve to identify knowledge gaps in the biology, ecology, and management of wild pigs, address specific resource concerns, policy and management issues, research priorities and outreach needs, and promote and facilitate the applied management of wild pigs to reduce damage.
Smith organized the group’s first biennial meeting in Orange Beach, Alabama in early March where nearly 70 natural resource professionals from across the United States attended. This meeting provided a venue for participants to learn about the latest effort to control wild pigs from across the country and the latest research developments. The NWPTF will meet during odd numbered years whereas the group’s flagship research and management meeting, the International Wild Pig Conference, will meet during even numbered years. The next conference will be in Oklahoma City, OK in 2018.