Feral pigs on a wildlife refuge covering parts of western Arizona and eastern California are the focus of a two week long extermination campaign starting next Monday. A sniper positioned aboard a helicopter will shoot as many wild hogs as possible during the eradication effort on the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge.
“Swine are known to damage natural resources and property, impact agricultural lands and pose a human health risk due to diseases they may carry,” a news release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated.
Beth Ullenberg, an external affairs specialist with the USFWS, said biologists believe there are about 1,000 wild hogs in Arizona and that the biggest concentration of them is on the refuge. She said population projections are difficult because the swine are skilled in hiding in vegetation, but that experts believe at least 100 pigs inhabit the refuge.
Ullenberg said the animals on the refuge have been documented to carry as many as 30 diseases, including e-coli and salmonella. She said ground crews will collect and bury the carcasses as they are unfit for consumption.
Portions of the refuge will be closed for public safety considerations during the eradication effort.