Posted Friday, Aug. 13, 2010, at 1:59 PM
The escaped domesticated fish species lumped together as
failed to overrun
the Great Lakes, but the State of Michigan has another kind of marauding foreign livestock to worry about. The Detroit Free Press reports that there are
"as many as 5,000" feral swine
on the loose in the state, and that the state Department of Natural Resources and Environment may declare them to be an invasive species:
The hogs are thought to be escapees from game ranches, where hunters pay $300 to $2,000 to shoot them. Prolific parents, they produce as many as 18 offspring a year.
The hogs compete with deer and birds for acorns and berries, eat deer fawns and the eggs of game birds such as grouse and quail, and uproot vegetation. They threaten people: In 2008, a wild hog was shot after it chased a young girl in Washtenaw County. They also carry pseudorabies, a disease that can sicken their domestic pig cousins and endangers the state's $500-million pork industry.
If the hogs are outlawed, private game ranches will no longer be allowed to stock them. But Michaganders are already encouraged by law to shoot pigs on sight. "However," the Free Press reports, "shooters of hogs on public land must have a hunting license."