A local invasive species group is warning area residents to beware of wild boars.
According to the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development’s Regional Invasive Species Partnership, the Eurasian boar has escaped from hunting preserves and has been spotted in 13 New York state counties, including Delaware. The animals have been sighted in Callicoon, Bethel, Fremont and Hancock.
Introduced in the early 1900s, the Eurasian boar now ranges freely in at least 39 states. The species differs from domestic swine by having an elongated head and coarse, dark hair.
According to the release, the Eurasian boar poses extensive risks to the habitat, including eating small animals, roots and vegetation, and damaging wetlands by digging in the soil. One farmer in Delaware County reported losing more than $15,000 worth of seed corn eaten by a boar in one day.
Eurasian boars are also vectors for more than 24 infectious diseases transmissible to humans, and carry harmful livestock diseases such as psuedorabies and swine brucellosis.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation is developing regulations for invasive species, including boar, scheduled for completion by March. The DEC’s goal is to eradicate the Eurasian boar in New York state, which would require listing it as a prohibited species.
Licensed small game hunters may hunt the animal at any time, in any number, so long as all other firearms and hunting regulations are observed.
Officials warn area residents to use caution if encountering Eurasian boar, as the animals can be aggressive. Sightings can be reported to the center at (845) 586-2611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit the DEC’s Eurasian boar webpage at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/70843.html.