Geospatial Analysis of Habitat Use by Judas Pigs in Louisiana and Mississippi

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Feral swine (i.e., feral hogs, feral pigs) are invasive species that were first introduced to the conterminous United States in the 1500s by European explorers. Throughout the United States, feral swine foraging activities have been shown to increase soil erosion, interfere with agriculture and other economic activities, adversely affect wetlands, forests, native wildlife, and can change entire ecological systems. Their high intelligence, adaptability, and omnivorous diet make eradication extremely difficult. Researchers at the USGS National Wetlands Research Center are using satellite GPS tracking collars on feral swine to: 1) track their movement patterns on the landscape, 2) document habitat destruction and effects on native wildlife, 3) leverage higher removal rates, and 4) facilitate removals under conditions otherwise not possible. This tracking technique is known as the Judas Pig system and uses GPS-satellite telemetry collars attached to feral swine to enable their monitoring and eradication. Once a tracking collar has been attached to an individual, usually a sow, it is released and returns to its group. The group’s movements and locations can then be tracked, allowing researchers and natural resource managers to better manage and respond to these invasive species.

Author Name
Stephen Hartley
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