Date of this Version
Non-native wild and feral ungulates have been introduced throughout the world for many centuries. Often the reasons for introductions were narrow in scope and benefits or the ungulates escaped or were released. Justifications for some introductions have included providing hunting opportunity, meeting cultural and dietary needs of people, fund raising, and aesthetics. Evaluations about the impacts to the environment, native wildlife, livestock, and people were most likely looked at in a narrow prism or not fully evaluated. Ungulates commonly introduced in the Eastern United States and Caribbean islands over the last 150 years included white-tailed deer, sika deer, hogs, horses, goats, and donkeys. Introductions have resulted in harm to endemic vegetation, competition with native herbivores for food, safety hazards to humans, disease threats to farm livestock and native wildlife, crop damage, and predation on eggs and young of native species. Some introductions provide significant positive economic benefits to local communities and present a unique set of resource and social challenges for the resource manager. Social and economic considerations may preclude removal as a management option. Once problems are recognized, management options can be assessed. However, the cost and effort of eradicating or suppressing non-native and feral ungulate populations can be daunting. Scarcity of funding can limit the scope and ability to remove enough of the animals to result in long-term benefits. Also, once substantial population reduction of undesirable animals is achieved, support for continued management may decline as recognition of the problem fades. An integration of control methods and some support from the local people are required to achieve removal of non-native and feral ungulates. Various challenges need to be addressed for control or eradication methods and strategies to be successful.