National Geographic News is reporting that feral pigs (Sus scrofa) have gotten the best of Santa Cruz Island...almost. The California isle is so overrun with pigs that the Nature Conservancy and the National Park Service have joined forces to come up with a plan to eradicate them. While park managers insist that several native species, including the endangered island grey fox (Urocyon littoralis), are threatened by the feral pigs, animal rights group CHIAPA claims that the pigs are actually a benefit to the island's ecosystem.
Thanks to Val C. for sending in the link to this story. Bonus points to National Geographic for using scientific names in their report.
The National Geographic article mentioned that a company from New Zealand was brought in to help eradicate the pigs. Any idea who the company is?
According to this press release it's a company called Prohunt New Zealand Limited. New Zealand has certainly had to deal with more than its fair share of non-native animal introductions, I wouldn't doubt the company's claim that they are way ahead of us in terms of animal control technologies.
I live in Santa Barbara and worked on Santa Cruz Island for The Nature Conservancy for 12 years. The pigs are a nightmare and have become enticing prey for non-native golden eagles that never used to be on the island. Sadly, the golden eagles also started to prey on the island foxes, hunting them almost to extinction. It has taken way too long to get rolling but most of us are overjoyed that Prohunt is on board and the hunt finally started April 8, 2005. Here is a link to an article about Prohunt: http://www.marketnewzealand.com/mnz/News/Story/4557/12067.aspx. They really are the tops in their field. Wish them luck!
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