Invasive Wild Pig Research On Tejon
California’s feral pigs (Sus scofra) are intelligent, adaptable and highly social mammals that are 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 land owner neighboring the Ranch 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 the Ranch’s native ecology.
A major research and management focus of the Tejon Ranch Conservancy is the control of feral pigs across 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 over invasive feral pigs throughout the United States, Tejon Ranch served as a representative West Coast study site for multi-year research to develop efficient methods for estimating wild pig population density, growth trends, spatial use patterns and demography. These estimates will help the Conservancy staff understand current population and habitat use trends, and how the associated risks of ecologic and economic damages are likely to change over time. This will help bolster development of effective population control and risk management strategies for use on the Ranch.
To learn more about feral pigs on Tejon, watch the video below.