Invasive Wild Pig Research and Monitoring on Tejon Ranch
California’s feral pigs (Sus scofra) are intelligent, adaptable and highly social mammals, descended from wild Eurasian boar and common domestic pigs. As a popular game species, feral pigs are often intentionally introduced to foreign landscapes, dramatically expanding their range throughout much of the world. This was the case in the early 1990s when a landowner neighboring Tejon brought in a small group of pigs for private hunting. Since that initial introduction, the feral pig population on Tejon has ballooned into the thousands. These animals’ natural adaptability, combined with their high fecundity (ability to reproduce) and disruptive foraging behavior, makes them a powerfully invasive species throughout the state, and a serious threat to native ecology.
A major research and management focus of the Conservancy is the control of feral pigs across Tejon's conserved lands as a means to reduce their adverse impacts to native ecology. In 2015 this research was expanded through a partnership with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and its National Feral Swine Management Program. As part of this federal initiative to address growing concerns throughout the United States, Tejon Ranch served as a West Coast study site for multi-year research to develop efficient methods for estimating population density, growth trends, spatial use patterns and demography.
These estimates will help everyone concerned about feral pigs to understand current population and habitat use trends, and how the associated risks of ecologic and economic damages are likely to change over time, to help bolster the Conservancy's development of effective population control and risk management strategies. To learn more about feral pigs on Tejon, please watch the documentary below.