Date of this Version
The Wildlife Professional, Summer 2011: pp. 41-42
A few years back, wild pigs ran mostly unchecked on Ossabaw Island, a 25,000-acre barrier island of maritime forests and marshlands just off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. Pigs wreaked havoc on island wildlife, feasting on the eggs of snowy plovers and eating turtle hatchlings as they made their way from the beaches to the water. Managers estimated that hogs were depredating over 30 percent of Ossabaw Island’s sea turtle nests each year (Mississippi State University 2011). Something had to be done.
In 2001, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources launched the Wild Pig Removal Program on Ossabaw Island, an intensive, ongoing effort to hunt and trap wild pigs. The Department conducts seven and two hog-only hunts. “We remove between 2,500 and 3,000 hogs annually,” says David Mixon, game management regional supervisor with the Department. “Removing wild pigs and constantly keeping pressure on them, we’ve seen vegetation rebound, increases in deer body weights, and very few sea turtle nests depredated by wild hogs.” In fact, sea turtle nest depredation on Ossabaw Island is now less than 5 percent per year.