As the boar was conquer America
The history of the discovery and colonization of new continents and territories by representatives of European civilization is inextricably linked to the migration of some species of domestic and wild animals. Everyone knows the consequences of importing rabbits to Australia. Once on this isolated continent in the XIX century, in the absence of species competition, rabbits bred so much that within 10 years they became a national disaster. A similar situation, only more delayed in time, has developed with the uncontrolled breeding of wild and escaped domestic pigs brought to the territory of North America.
The first wild boars in the New World
Scientists believe that the first specimens of artiodactyls from the pig family, belonging to the genus boar, came to the territory of North America during the expeditions of the Spanish conquerors Juan Ponce de Lyon (1521) and Hernando de Soto (1539). Pigs “traveled” in the holds of ships as live food supplies, and it is possible that some of them may have escaped during the land part of the conquest campaigns. A little later, at the end of the XVI century, pigs were imported to America in large quantities specifically for breeding.
colonization of America
Animals that managed to escape from their pens and end up in the wild multiplied rapidly. Feral pigs on the American continent had no natural rivals, and their numbers grew rapidly. Already in the XVIII century, to prevent the raids of voracious pigs on the fields of maize and other food crops, farmers had to start their mass shooting. Hunting wild boar – a large, powerful, and, at the same time, very smart and cautious animal, gradually became one of the most popular entertainment for local residents.
At the end of the XIX century, to give this hunting a special extreme, large specimens of European wild boars were brought to the New World from Germany and released on the territory of the small North-Eastern American state of new Hampshire. In the first decades of the twentieth century, significant quantities of wild pigs were imported from Russia to North Carolina, Texas, and California. The cross-breeding of “genetic material” that arrived in America with native animals contributed to an even faster growth of their population and the development of new territories, including a number of countries in the Caribbean and Latin America.
A rapid propagation and acclimatization
Powerful and hardy European boars quickly acclimated, and, not experiencing a shortage of females for mating, gave abundant offspring, the number of which quickly became threatening. American hunters were unable to resist the growth of the wild boar population. In the natural environment of the American continent, these animals also had no enemies that could significantly affect their numbers.
In areas with moderate and warm climates, pigs are able to produce offspring twice a year, and up to a dozen piglets can be counted in each Farrow. If there is enough food, these animals can grow to gigantic sizes.
The record holder for fatness has long been considered a boar named Big bill, in the early thirties of the last century, who lived on a farm in Texas. With a weight of 1153 kg and a body length of 2 m 74 cm, Big bill, dragging a huge belly on the ground, could only move in the direction of the feeder.
In the United States, by the middle of the XX century, wild boars that bred to a population of several million individuals caused huge losses to farms. Wild pigs not only destroyed fields of corn, wheat and sweet potatoes, but were not afraid to destroy pens for Pets, devoured their food and killed young animals. The intelligence and resourcefulness inherent in these animals allow them to avoid traps, so it is difficult to catch a wild pig in a trap. If it were not for the organized shooting of wild boars in the United States, thanks to the almost 100% natural survival rate of this species, the population would increase exponentially every year.
offspring of wild boars
Current state of Affairs
According to economists, the annual damage to US agriculture from raids on wild pig farms is at least $ 5 billion. We should assess and add to these figures the devastating damage to the environment and wildlife that these voracious animals cause. They get and eat everything they can find. This includes bird eggs from low-lying nests, the roots of rare plants, and sea turtle eggs deposited on sandy ocean beaches. Only one category of residents of the southern American States receives some compensation from the increase in the number of wild boars – hunters. Sometimes they manage to get truly unique in power, weight and size instances.
An eleven-year-old hunter from Alabama, who shot a wild boar weighing almost half a ton, became famous all over America at the beginning of the two-thousandth century. His father taught his son marksmanship and hunting skills from the age of five. When the trophy of the young record holder was measured, the length of the animal’s torso was 3.5 meters, the length of the fangs was 30 cm, and the girth in the shoulder and neck area was 2 meters.
Despite special government programs and the activities of several hundred thousand American hunters, the wild boar population continues to increase. Because of these animals, the United States is gradually becoming an environmental disaster zone. The dying nature is a sad reckoning of modern people for the ill-considered actions of their predecessors. However, this applies not only to the growing number of wild pigs…