Feral pig population must be controlled
The state hopes to control wild pigs in Manoa through hunting and trapping.
TROUBLESOME experiences that Manoa residents have
had for years with feral pigs should dissuade a Waialae Nui man from getting too chummy with the animals
Beside the fact that the piglets he has adopted as pets will grow bigger and more difficult to handle, encouraging their wild cousins to feed at his home invites danger to his neighborhood.
The pigs can carry diseases such as leptospirosis, for which Hawaii bears the dubious distinction of having the highest infection rates in the nation. In addition, their habit of digging for food destroys native plant life and creates hollows where water collects, allowing mosquitoes to breed.
Though no one has official numbers, it is apparent that the Oahu pig population is on the rise. Homeowners in Manoa are encountering the animals more and more, prompting the state to propose a program to control them through hunting and trapping.
Animal lovers can be expected to object, but the pigs aren't an endangered species by any measure and their presence in long-established neighborhoods can't be attributed to habitat encroachment.
The question is whether the Department of Land and Natural Resources will be able to reduce the pig population enough to keep them away from residential areas. Other efforts in 2002 and from 2004 through last year snagged only 37 pigs. The department's new plan for hunts, which doesn't allow firearms, plus continuous trapping could work better.
Manoa residents are mainly concerned about the property damage the pigs cause, but they also worry because the tusked pigs can become aggressive and attack humans.
Even Waialae Nui's self-anointed "pig whisperer" acknowledges he has been attacked a few times by the sow of his new pets. That they and about a dozen more were the first he has seen in his neighborhood in the 12 years he has lived there should be a hint that the pig problem isn't exclusive to Manoa.
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