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Reports of wild pigs in county cause alarm

Woman said animals spotted had tusks, a key feature of feral pigs

Staff writer

Apparent sightings of wild pigs Sunday in Marion County were alarming for resident Saje Bayes.

“They’re an invasive species, I definitely see that,” she said. “I wouldn’t want them to start populating here because they cause a lot of problems.”

Bayes saw a group of four pigs Sunday near 40th and Timber Rds. She photographed them with her phone and posted the shots to social media. Another person mentioned seeing them near Upland Rd.

Bayes, who has a pot-bellied pig at her family’s farm in southern Marion County, said the pigs she saw had tusks — a key feature of wild pigs.

“Who knows, maybe they were somebody’s pets,” she said. “They sure didn’t look like that.”

Tusks, or needle teeth, are an indicator of wild pigs because domesticated ones have them clipped as piglets, said Rickey Roberts, an agriculture and natural resources agent with Marion County Extension office.

“Who knows how many of those wild herds are around,” he said. “I don’t know how many we do or don’t see. Hopefully they’re not a huge population.”

Pigs are omnivores and can eat nearly anything, Roberts said.

“Those hogs are out there running around and they’ll eat whatever they can find,” he said. “They could contract something, they can spread, and that’s what I’m saying. Those hogs aren’t being fed a clean, safe diet like we feed our livestock.”

The animals have been known to feed on fellow hogs after they die, Roberts said.

“That would probably be the biggest concern, would be disease transmission,” he said. “If that could spread into any of our domesticated hog production that could be a problem.”

The prospect of wild pigs is concerning because there’s no natural predator in the area, Bayes said.

“This is the first time I’ve ever seen them,” she said. “I know other people have seen them out in western Kansas, but this is the first time I’ve seen them out here.”

While not many feral pigs have been seen so far, taking care of it now is important, Bayes said.

“I guess they should capture, euthanize or shoot them,” she said. “It just depends. If they’re somebody’s that’s great, but at the same time, four could turn into 20 pretty fast.”

Only people protecting their land can legally go out and kill wild pigs, game warden Evan Deneke said.

“Otherwise you’d have people wanting to hunt them for sport and bringing them in,” he said. “That would be a disaster.”

Last modified Feb. 20, 2020

 

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