pigs

Michigan-sportsman.com

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Scientists plan to trap up to 18 feral swine and fit them with radio collars in a five-year project to learn more about the unwanted critters' movements and habits in rural Michigan.

Researchers with Michigan State University and the University of Michigan at Flint will participate in the $500,000 study funded by the state and U.S. agriculture departments.

Michigan State wildlife professor Gary Roloff says getting rid of the animals requires a better understanding of how they spread and how their rooting behavior damages woods and farmlands.

(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)

State health officials say Michigan has recorded its first human case this year of a potentially serious pig-borne flu virus.

The child who fell ill with H3N2 is recovering.   The child was showing swine at the Berrien County Youth Fair earlier this month.

H3N2 is carried by swine.    When a person catches this flu bug, it’s like any other form of influenza.   The infected person can develop a fever, runny nose or cough.  Also like the regular flu, the symptoms can become serious.

A farmer in Michigan could face up to $700,000 in fines for keeping a hybrid breed of pig if Michigan’s Attorney General’s office has its way.

Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources banned a species of wild Russian boar two years ago. The concern is that the pigs could escape from hunting reserves or farms and become hard to manage in the wild.

Mark Baker grows produce, and raises chickens, pigs and other animals at Baker's Green Acres in Marion.

It's estimated that as many as 3,000 wild pigs are on the loose in Michigan. Nationwide, they cause more than $1.8 billion in damage to farms each year. So recently, the state's Department of Natural Resources put Russian boar on the state's invasive species list.

user Julo / Wikimedia Commons

The Kent County Health Department today reported that the first case of H3N2v influenza infection has been identified in a child from Washtenaw County.

The press release says the child was reportedly around swine at the Ingham County Fair this August, where the child may have contracted the infection.  The H3N2v flu was mild in this case, and did not require hospitalization.

Captive Russian boars
Peter Payette

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has filed its first legal action under an order that outlaws some breeds of exotic swine.

The Michigan DNR has filed a legal action in Cheboygan County against the Renegade Ranch Hunting Preserve for refusing entry to state inspectors and harboring prohibited breeds.

This is the first legal action taken by the Michigan DNR since the state started enforcing the order on April 1.

*Correction - An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Michigan DNR is banning "some species of exotic swine." The MDNR is banning certain breeds not species.  It has been corrected above.

Peter Payette/Interlochen Public Radio

Wildlife officials took aggressive action last year to keep pigs from running wild on the landscape. Certain kinds of pigs were declared an invasive species. But farmers and ranchers say the move was too extreme. They’re challenging the science of the ban.  On today's Environment Report, Peter Payette explains that distinguishing between pigs can be complicated. 

Peter visited Stuart Kunkle at his small farm south of Traverse City.  He has ten pigs.

“We have a mix and some purebreds here. We have two mulefoots which are the black pigs. That’s Rosabelle and down there is Trinity at the end… then we’ve got a mixture of what we believe is Russian boar and Mangalitsa.”

All these pigs are hairy and the Mangalitsas are almost as dark as the mule foots.

Kunkle got into pigs for a few reasons. One is: he has a day job and pigs are less work than other animals. And he says the market for pastured pork is growing and chefs have become interested in some of the unusual breeds.

But his pigs might soon be illegal. Kunkle isn’t certain but he has the list of characteristics the state will soon use to identify illegal pigs.

“They have erect ears, which I have heard that the erect ear is something associated with the Russian boar. But you know, I want to say except for certain breeds, I want to say a lot of the pigs I’ve ever seen have erect ears.”

Stuart Kunkle is not exactly who the state was targeting when it banned feral swine.

Wildlife officials have been talking for years about the dangers posed by hunting ranches that sell wild boar hunts. They say the animals sometimes escape and there are now thousands living in the wild.

One top official has referred to them as four-footed Asian carp.

 The state Department of Natural Resources says it will move slowly to enforce a ban on wild boar species that takes effect at the end of this week. The order declares some breeds of swine dangerous invasive species.

(photo by Peter Payette) / (courtesy of the Environment Report)

On July 8th, the Department of Natural Resources will follow through with a designation that wild hogs are an invasive species.    There are several thousand feral pigs believed to be running wild in Michigan, according to  Mary Detloff, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  

Photo by Peter Payette

Wild hogs have been the talk of the state legislature this week. Hunting ranches call the hogs Russian boars. They’re brown and hairy and the males have little tusks. The hogs are bred and raised to be hunted. Wild hog hunts typically go for around 500 or 600 bucks.

The Department of Natural Resources says wild hogs have gotten out of hand. The DNR says the hogs have gotten loose and are running around... doing things like tearing up the soil, destroying crops and competing with other animals for food.

The agency points out that wild hog breeding and hunting within these fenced facilities is currently unregulated. Last year, the DNR director signed an order. It will make it illegal to possess a wild hog in Michigan. The order goes into effect July 8th... unless a law is passed to regulate wild hogs on hunting ranches.

Ted Nugent is possibly the most outspoken critic of a ban on wild hogs. He owns a hunting ranch near Jackson.

“There’s this voodoo subculture out there that is misrepresenting that there are pigs loose and there are pigs out there destroying the environment and destroying family farms, when none of that is true.”

Rural Michigan is fighting a war with feral swine and wild boars.   The problem is getting worse.   Now, the state is about to take a major step up declaring them an "invasive species"


The Associated Press reports:


Michigan's fight against feral swine and wild boar is escalating.  Department of Natural Resources and Environment Director Rebecca Humphries announced Friday she signed an order declaring the swine an invasive species in Michigan.