Anybody who has raised pigs or visited a pig farm knows that while this animal is smart and cute, they can be destructive and mean and dangerous as all get-out. Wild pigs are even more so, which is why their continued spread in the U.S. and Canada is one of the more alarming of the many alarming invasive-species stories out there.
This Atlantic magazine article (read it here) calls it a “feral swine bomb” which is a great phrase – all three of its word pack a punch. Feral! Swine!! Bomb!!!
Years ago, reducing feral-pig populations hardly seemed worth the money, but today these animals are responsible for an estimated $2.5 billion worth of damage in the U.S. each year—mostly by mowing down farmers’ crops, as well as attacking calves, lambs, and pregnant livestock, and destroying native plants, animals, and precious habitats. A feral pig can host at least 30 viral and bacterial diseases, along with nearly 40 parasites.
New Hampshire is the one spot in the Northeast with a feral pig population, and it’s due to Corbin Park, the 25,000-acre private hunting preserve in Sullivan County. The park was established in the 1890’s and stocked with wild pigs, among other animals. They have continued to breed and occasionally escape the 25-mile-long fence.
Allowing them to stay there is like allowing outdoor breeding of Asian long-horned beetles or some other invasive that produces horrible economic and environmental damage if it spreads. It’s crazy – and what’s crazier is that because of century-old rules, you can’t even shoot the pigs if they escape because they’re considered private property. I wrote about this in January as part of a failed attempt to require hunting licenses in the park (story here).
NHPR’s Outside/In did a great story about Corbin Park in 2016: Read/listen here.
New England Historical Society wrote about Austin Corbin, who founded the park. The article calls him a ‘part-hog, part-shark’ robber baron: Read it here.