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Charlotte, NC—Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department has directed its natural resources staff to begin trapping wild boars (also called feral hogs) later this week at nature preserves around Mountain Island Lake.

The population of these animals is rapidly increasing in the southern United States. They interbreed and are called wild boars, feral hogs, feral pigs, Eurasian wild boars, Russian wild boars, or razorbacks (picture from Wikipedia). They are not native to the United States and are an invasive species. The animals damage natural areas, crops and plants by rooting and wallowing. Nationally, they cause an estimated $60 million a year damage to agricultural areas and lawns. They often damage natural areas including nature preserves and parks. In many parts of the country, including North Carolina, they are legally hunted.

Park and Recreation will also authorize a limited number of hunters, part of the deer population management program, also to hunt boars on County property four days a year.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) has given permission for these control measures. These boars often weigh 100-200 pounds, although some are reported up to 600 pounds. They are very prolific in the wild. One adult sow can produce as many as a thousand offspring in five years. Their populations often spread by moving along streams, creeks and rivers.

Boars were first spotted and confirmed at a nature preserve in November. Their images have been captured by remote cameras with motion detectors. The Mountain Island Educational State Forest, across the Catawba River, has also reported many sightings and authorized hunts for boars. Park and Recreation staff plan to trap the boars into cages. As required by the NCWRC, they will then be “put down” on site by natural resources staff, using a firearm.

Additional information on the animals is available from the US Department of Agriculture at . Anyone who spots a wild boar in any Park and Recreation property is asked to call the department’s Natural Resources office, 704 432-4531, and report the time and location.