HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — License requirements and fees to hunt feral pigs in Guam are expected to be removed under a bill that would reclassify the animals as an unprotected species.
The bill was introduced Friday by Sen. Clynt Ridgell who said removing restrictions would allow the community to develop solutions to controlling the feral pig population, Pacific Daily News reported.
“The protected species law is made to ensure the survival of our native animals and birds, not wild pigs that damage crops and even sometimes attack and hurt people,” Ridgell said.
“With this bill, I hope to empower the community to address this as both a public safety issue and an environmental issue.”
Feral pigs are not native to Guam, Ridgell said.
Not only have they been found to be hostile toward people and destroy property, but they are also known to eat and destroy the crops of many of our local farmers, he said.
The feral pigs have been blamed for ruining manicured lawns, damaging farms and vegetable gardens, chasing after pet animals and their owners, and harming native species of plants.
Allowing residents to hunt feral pigs freely and safely will help reduce the animal’s population, said Piti Mayor Jesse Alig, whose village continues to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in trapping feral pigs.
“In my discussions with the Department of Agriculture, I have found that this bill will work in tandem with their efforts, which includes plans to hold a pig hunting derby in the coming months,” Ridgell said.
The department has trapped about 450 feral pigs in the last year, federal agency officials said.
“Feral swine are an invasive species, and vectors of many diseases that may negatively impact humans,” officials said, referring to leptospirosis, brucellosis, Japanese encephalitis virus, and toxoplasmosis.