Question: Our class is working on invasive species and would really appreciate it if you could help us with one question. How does the California Department of Fish and Game help with the control of feral pigs? If you could email us back the answer, we would greatly appreciate it (The Alien Hunters or Pam K.).
Answer: It is great to hear from young citizens who are interested in wildlife issues and are actively seeking to educate themselves about these topics! According to DFG Statewide Wild Pig Program Coordinator Marc Kenyon, the California Legislature in 1957 classified the wild pig as a game mammal which then allowed the Department to manage them as wildlife and regulate their harvest. The Department is the agency with responsibility over game animals in the state and because this classification is in statute, only legislative action could change it. However, the California Fish and Game Commission, a separate entity, has recognized that damage from wild pigs does occur and to that end, a policy has been put into effect that states:
"The wild pig population of the state must be controlled to minimize the threat of increasing damage to California’s native plant and animals, to agricultural operations and to park and recreational activities from the foraging habits of the animals. Consistent with State law and regulations, the Department will prepare and recommend to the Commission regulations which enhance recreational hunting and facilitate the issuing of depredation permits and/or other legally available means to alleviate this problem."
Please visit the Fish and Game Commission’s website to understand the difference between the Department of Fish and Game and the Fish and Game Commission.
Similar to the Commission, the Department works to minimize the impacts pigs cause. To achieve this, we work with private citizens, other government organizations and natural resources conservation partners to, among other things: 1) curtail the spread of wild pigs; 2) protect agricultural, archaeological and environmental resources and private property from damage caused by wild pigs; and 3) facilitate the removal of pigs causing damage.