Island Packet — We have had, it can be argued by most good people, a fairly colorful few months here in the swamps of Carolina. Our governor vanished for a week, another guy lost track of his Red Bull allowance and yelled something at President Kenya O’Islam on the TV, another dude and his grandma called poor people farm animals and then whined about being made fun of, some hilarious representative person introduced pointless nuisance legislation about banning paper money to make a point about small government and it’s still legal to marry your first cousin. There is also a story about a horse my editor won’t let me write about.
But even these many terrible people are mere hors d’oeuvres when compared with the greatest problem facing residents of South Carolina, which is that we are all going to be eaten and probably killed by feral wild pigs, which are running wild throughout the state and cannot be stopped at all, by anything, except maybe feral wild dragons, and I’m pretty sure we exported most of those already.
Indeed, according to a story right here in the Newspaper written by my cubicle-mate, Patrick Donohue, who spent all of Feral Pig Infestation Reporting Day growing increasingly unhinged by panic, “There may be no slowing the state’s booming wild hog population, experts say.” Moreover, it turns out our state is home to the nation’s sixth-largest population of wild hogs. (It is also home to the nation’s fourth-largest collection of owners of the DVD of “Wild Hogs,” which is equally troubling.)
Many of the pigs, Donohue reported, and at this point during the afternoon he was sweating and repeatedly making sure all the doors in the buildings were locked, are hybrids of domestic pigs and Eurasian wild boars released by hunters in the early 1900s. All told, officials estimate there are somewhere between 90,000 and 280,000 hogs running wild throughout South Carolina, and I slept through most of my math classes but that seems to be a wildly imprecise figure; apparently we as a people cannot make a pig count with a margin of error less than 200,000. I, myself, would very much like a recount.
Yet a more official figure does not seem forthcoming. “We don’t have a good handle on the actual population,” said Jack Mayer, a feral-swine expert at the Savannah River National Laboratory in Aiken and a man who is a feral-swine expert so you don’t have to be. “We say that there are 2 to 6 million wild hogs nationally. That’s a pretty big spread. The truth is that we don’t really know how many of them there are.”
Related, sort of
This whole shebang is troubling because the hogs carry disease, eat “pretty much anything” and tear up golf courses, which is like the vermin trifecta around here. But wait, there’s more good news, according to Donohue, who obtained this quote while sobbing quietly into his tie: “Feral swine have a very high reproductive rate and are very hearty animals. Controlling an animal like that is very difficult,” said Joseph Corn of the Southern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study at the University of Georgia.
See, it’s not like there aren’t people on the hog problem. I for one fully support throwing sackfuls of TARP money at the hog-control people; also let us know if you’d like us to fix up your Toyotas free of charge, because y’all are gonna need an effective escape vehicle when you are being chased by crackpot political people. And horses. And a wild boar.