Environmental Benefits of Wild Boar
Let’s face it: Wild pigs all over the world have a bad reputation not only for being mean but also for the considerable damage they can afflict on protected cash crops and the land in general. After all, even a small herd of wild pigs can root up entire crop fields in one night and plow grasslands and hillsides in search of roots and tubers. Small mud holes become huge pig wallows and well watered fields new mud holes.
Yet in the Californian oak lands, there is a beneficial side to all this rooting in the Oak lands that ring the Central Valley.
Careful observation of grassy areas rooted up by wild pigs shows that native perennial grasses are coming back very fast after rooting by wild boar. This very rapid regrowth of the perennials suppresses annual grasses.
The Spanish Missions in California introduced many of the annual grasses, flowers and brushes around their Missions. From there, the annuals invaded the grasslands in the Oak lands around the Central Valley suppressing native perennial species and gradually replacing them.
Rooting wild pigs dig up the annuals. Now, fast growing perennial native grasses, flowers, shrubs and brushes can reclaim their place in the grasslands and brush belts. And they do so quickly and decisively. Bunch grass comes back, native flowers, shrubs and brushes flourish and acorns grow very, very fast.
This positive effect of wild boar on the environment of Oak lands in California may not apply to all environments and to all parts of California. But where it does, it is an important and good reason to keep wild pigs.
True, the boar can devastate crop fields in one short night; true, they can cause severe damage to hillsides, trails even to the fences of farmers protecting their fields. True, they can cost farmers money for protecting their high yield cash crops.
Yet, their activities favor native plants and help restore original balances in their habitats. Countless other species of animals and plants reap the benefits of these activities.
Moreover, wild boar also bring a lot of money into the coffers of the State and the local economy of cities in the pig belt of California. Where does that money come from? From hunters like you! Let us not forget that in our conversations with opponents of hunting and foes of wild pigs.