Michigan Sportsmen Want Wild Boar Declared an Invasive Species
Michigan sportsmen and women will join members of the Michigan agriculture community today in supporting an administrative order that would list feral swine/wild boar (Sus scrofa) as a prohibited invasive species in Michigan. State law requires the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) to list a non-native species as prohibited if it could potentially harm human health, severely harm agricultural, natural, or silvicultural resources, and effective management controls are not available. Scientists and wildlife biologists have concluded that wild boar overwhelmingly satisfy that criteria and will present the proposed order for discussion purposes Thursday at a joint meeting between the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) and Commission of Agriculture.
Michigan United Conservation Clubs Executive Director Erin McDonough said that unlike domestic pigs, wild boar dramatically alter ecosystems, destroy wildlife habitat, feed on wildlife (including fawns), and pose a significant public safety risk to hunters and other outdoor recreators. "Like the Asian carp, wild boar are an invasive species that will quickly displace native wildlife and significantly harm Michigan's economy if their points of entry are not completely blocked off to keep them out of Michigan permanently," said McDonough. "However, unlike with Asian carp, Michigan has a real opportunity to take action in order to prevent a permanent infestation of this invasive species."
In 2007 the NRC and then "Agriculture Commission" adopted a joint resolution "to prevent the establishment of feral swine in Michigan," citing the hog's aggressive/destructive behavior, danger to humans, wildlife predation and habitat destruction, ecosystem disruption, crop damage, and economic threat to Michigan's pork industry as critical consequences to taking no action. MUCC members in 2008 then adopted organizational policy to eradicate feral swine from Michigan's landscape and the organization has worked ever since to combat the animal's devastation of Michigan's wildlife and outdoor heritage. This year, MUCC worked to enact a recent law that legalized the killing of wild boar by hunters.
In addition to the threat feral swine pose to Michigan's outdoor heritage, McDonough said the destructive nomadic rototillers will also significantly harm Michigan's economy if left uncontrolled. "The current economic devastation caused by wild boar to crops, private property, and wildlife habitat, coupled with the disease problems this invasive species creates for current livestock farmers and native wildlife is only a preview of what's at stake if this invasive species - which can produce up to three liters in as little as 14 months - overrun Michigan's wild landscapes," she said. "Sportsmen and women pay for wildlife conservation; we will not stand to see our license fee dollars to improve wildlife habitat go to waste."
McDonough said MUCC is supporting the proposed order, which will "turn off the faucet" by addressing the sources of the invasive wild boar in Michigan, but believes the Michigan Department of Agriculture and DNRE must work together with all stakeholders in developing an eradication plan that produces a scientifically sound and fiscally responsible framework to completely rid Michigan of wild boar. The proposed order was brought up for information only at Thursday's meeting but will be considered for action by DNRE Director Rebecca Humphries in the coming months.
MUCC's Michigan OutofDoors Magazine will be on hand in Escanaba to provide live streaming footage of the joint meeting between the NRC and Commission of Agriculture on Thursday, August 12. Interested parties may visit http://www.MichiganOutofDoors.com to watch the meeting live.