ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — It's a growing concern in the state, wild hogs rampaging New Mexico and now it has the state land commissioner worried.
The Public Land Commissioner is warning not only of the diseases these wild hogs can transmit to humans, but also how difficult it's been getting rid of them.
The sizeable swine are swarming across New Mexico, wreaking havoc on the land and reproducing rapidly.
"They're very adaptive, they're very intelligent, they have now moved to 17 of our 33 counties in New Mexico," explained State Land Commissioner Ray Powell.
Powell said they've rampaged on more than a million acres of state trust land. A veterinarian by trade, he said he's worried about the hogs.
"They can do serious damage and they could potentially drive a lot of people in agriculture out of business," said Powell.
Feral hogs carry 27-diseases that can infect wildlife and domesticated animals. Diseases, Powell said, that can be transmitted to humans, and cripple the livestock industry.
Powell said testing reveals there's almost no limit to what they'll pig out on. "They found spade toads, lizards, snakes, birds, anything that they can get a hold of they'll eat and devour," Powell said.
News 13 spoke with a USDA wildlife specialist last summer that spent most of his time tracking down hogs. "I'm continually working on pigs, all it has done through the years is intensify," said Ron Jones.
And it's only gotten worse, Powell said the hogs are originally from Siberia, and were brought in for hunting. But, they're hard to catch.
"We've had people with helicopters flying over trying to actually spot them, they've learned that the helicopters are not good news for them and they actually hide," Powell explained.
Still, he said, the daunting task of getting rid of them is necessary. "But if people don't know about it, we're not going to be able to prevent some very serious things from happening."
Powell said his office is working with game and fish, the health department, environment department, and the livestock board to try and tackle problem.
The Public Land Commissioner said a big part of the effort is trying to ensure the state land office does not have to close off lands to mining and exploration because of the hogs.
jwfisher1977 | April 30 2012 5:18pm
If the hogs are such a problem then why don't landowner's allow Hunters to come on there land and kill them. I have hunted hogs in Florida for about 25 years.I now live in Albuquerque and would love to help out with this so called problem. Send me an Email email@example.com if a land owner would like some one to help with the problem it would be my pleasure.
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New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.