Bill introduced to address feral pig problem

Senator Clynt Ridgell (35th Guam Legislature photo)

Senator Clynt Ridgell has introduced Bill 306-35 to help reduce the feral pig population.

Currently, pigs are considered a protected species which makes it difficult for hunters to control the feral pig population.

“Local hunters approached me and told me that they want to help their village reduce the number of feral pigs that are causing damage in the community, but they can’t do this without a special permit because of the protections in place.”

Bill 306-35 removes the requirement for these special permits by classifying feral pigs as an unprotected species alongside other invasive species. The bill will completely remove license requirements and fees for hunting feral pigs. Removing these restrictions will allow the community to develop solutions to controlling the feral pig population.

“The protected species law is made to ensure the survival of our native animals and birds, not wild pigs that damage crops and even sometimes attack and hurt people,” said Senator Ridgell. “With this bill, I hope to empower the community to address this as both a public safety issue and an environmental issue.”

Feral pigs are not native to Guam and have been known to be a nuisance to many in our community. Not only have they been found to be hostile towards people and destroy property, but they are also known to eat and destroy the crops of many of our local farmers.

In our tropical forest, feral pigs also eat many root plants that anchor the soil to the earth. When pigs are rooting for food, they dig up and loosen soil. Rainwater then washes away the loose, nutrient-rich soil into the surrounding ocean. This runoff smothers coral, preventing it from receiving sunlight, which can further coral bleaching of our reefs.

“In meeting with members of both the Northern and Southern Soil and Water Conservation Districts, I received confirmation that Governor Leon Guerrero has authorized the release of $50,000 in federal funds for the Districts to address the control of feral pigs so that we can protect our soil from future runoff. In my discussions with the Department of Agriculture, I have found that this bill will work in tandem with their efforts, which includes plans to hold a pig hunting derby in the coming months,” Senator Ridgell stated.

“By reducing the feral pig population, we protect our native plant life, our ocean, our farmers, and our community. I ask my fellow colleagues for their support to provide for a safer and Greener Guam,” Senator Ridgell concluded. (press release)