Update July 30, 2014: By a 5-0 vote, Supervisors adopted the feral pig eradication plan to trap and shoot wild pigs across our region.
By Miriam Raftery
Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service
July 29, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--They wallow in waterways and root up sensitive habitat. They breed prolifically—and they eat almost anything—from acorns to small animals—even goats with horns! Those portly porkers – feral pigs in East County’s backcountry—can weigh up to 250 pounds. The largest wild pig caught anywhere--a gargantuan specimen dubbed "Hogzilla," tipped the scales at over 800 pounds.
Feral pigs are descendants of domestic pigs run wild and European boars brought over by Spaniards in the 1700s. Locally, San Diego's pig population has been around since only around 2006. We don't know how they got here. One rumor is that hunters released a few pigs as game animals. Another theory is that the pigs migrated in from elsewhere in California or Mexico. However they came, they've found fertile ground locally, where the number of wild pigs is now estimated at over a thousand.
Hunting wild pigs is legal in California on private property and tribal lands – though not in our region's parks, preserves, or wilderness areas. But bringing home the bacon isn’t as easy as it sounds.