Date of this Version
Environmental Science and Pollution Research (2019) 26:1654–1660
Illinois is one of the US states where elimination of feral swine (Sus scrofa) was determined practical, as only a few isolated populations were established. A particularly important step towards feral swine elimination from Illinois was to eliminate the population in Fulton County. We describe the approaches applied to systematically detect, locate, and eliminate feral swine in a successful county-wide elimination. Detecting and locating feral swine was facilitated by extensive outreach activities, aerial surveys to locate crop damage, and use of camera traps placed over bait in areas where reports, sign, or crop damage occurred. The population was eliminated after 376 feral swine were removed from 2009 to 2016 by trapping, sharpshooting over bait, and aerial shooting. Aerial surveys efficiently located feral swine activity over wide areas during times of the crop cycle when damage would occur and would be most distinguishable from other damage sources. Two applications of aerial shooting in 2014 were particularly efficient for rapidly eliminating most remaining feral swine after they had become difficult to locate and remove. Persistent efforts thereafter led to the successful elimination of feral swine in Fulton County by 2016.We believe this is the first documentation of a widespread feral swine elimination in mixed agriculture and forest habitats.