There are still sure signs that feral pigs continue to be an issue on the island with a man being bitten just this week in Tamuning.
U.S. Department of Agriculture teams say they’re out every day trapping swine and since Oct. 1 last year, they’ve already trapped over 350 pigs.
At this rate, USDA is tracking to trap up to 1000 feral pigs by September.
PNC went out with wildlife technicians as they laid down a trap in Mangilao.
The USDA teams say they’re on the move constantly —surveying reports of pig damage, baiting the animals, tracking them through cameras and then finally laying down the traps to catch them.
In Latte Heights, where there’s a dense population of both humans and pigs, the teams got to work after reports of damage in the area.
Here’s how it works:
- They’ll lay down bait for 3-5 days to survey how many pigs are in the area. The first pig here came out in broad daylight just 15 minutes after the food was put down.
When they have a good idea of the size of the sounder (that’s a group of pigs), the teams will come out and lay the traps.
They throw down the bait.
Then, they wait and watch the pigs come and go on camera… until they’ve nailed down their pattern.
And then, they catch the swine.
The teams say they catch an average of 20 pigs a week and since they’re currently fully funded, they expect to trap some 1000 pigs by the end of September.
The USDA has 14 of these CORRAL traps on island, split between the north and south. The traps are flexible and pieces can be added to change their size and shape.
They’re typically 20-feet by 20-feet and the team’s biggest catch so far was 26 pigs at one time.
The animal’s favorite bait?
Coconuts and soured corn which is typically donated to the wildlife teams.
Jeffrey Flores, the state director for Guam’s USDA Wildlife Services, says trapping is about more than just health and safety because livelihoods are on the line.
“With regards to the farmers, we have constant complaints that come in. The feral pigs are impacting their banana trees, papaya trees, corn, hot peppers and what’s difficult is that we’re really unable to identify the cost associated with the damage that they’re causing to these local farmers,” Flores said.
USDA has been trapping wild pigs on the island for almost four years. But Flores says they need to keep the efforts, and funding, at a maximum to actually make a dent in the population.
There are no public figures on just how many wild pigs there are on Guam.
To keep the animals away from your home, Flores says you should keep your yard free of debris and clutter. And dispose of your garbage in bins with lids.