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Publication Date: Wednesday, April 16, 2003

New contract on pigs New contract on pigs (April 16, 2003)

The battle to get rid of the wild pigs rooting in county hills is one you never win. But you have to keep fighting just to keep them under control.

On April 9, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District board renewed its contract with Rural Pig Management Inc. to trap and dispose of feral pigs on its lands for another year. The cost should not exceed $30,100.

Since the district first took on the invading porkers in 2000, Rural Pig Management Inc. has trapped a total of 272 pigs at a total cost of $83,651 -- or $307 per pig, according to Cindy Roessler, resource management specialist for the district.

The pigs -- which are tough, smart, and prolific -- have been rooting their way up the Peninsula from the Carmel Valley and wilderness beyond. Having escaped from captivity, they are not native. Their rooting and wallowing damage hillsides and wetlands; they cause erosion into streams that harbor rare animals and threatened fish.

The program has been successful so far, reported Director Larry Hassett of Skyline. "We're seeing a general decline in activity."

This year's program will focus more on special areas selected by the trapper, Mr. Hassett said. These will probably be in lower regions where the pigs go for moisture during the dry summers.

Last summer, wild pigs were found and exterminated in both Woodside and Portola Valley.

Mr. Hassett reported the district is working on regional eradication efforts in cooperation with private landowners and other public agencies, including towns, county and state parks, the San Francisco Watershed, and the California Department of Fish and Game.


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