Monday, December 11, 2006

Wild Pigs, I mean Javelinas, on the Attack!

Several of my students e-mailed me today with this headline from CNN online: Wild Pigs Attack, Bite Woman, Puncture Dog's Lung. I was immediately interested, of course, but was a bit surprised to see that the story came from Tucson's KVOA television and was actually about a javelina attack. You can read the story here (there is also a video link to the tape that CNN used). I have a friend in Tucson who frequently sees javelinas but has yet to be threatened by them. Javelinas travel in packs of 8-15 called squadrons and tend to ignore humans. The Arizona Game & Fish department has an excellent fact sheet about living with javelinas here. It notes that when problems arise, they usually have resulted from people feeding the javelinas.

It appears that attacks by javelinas are fairly rare. It should be noted, of course, that the javelina (more properly known as the collared peccary, Tayassu tajacu) is a new world species, whereas the wild pigs one usually hears about are European pigs that have gone feral, Eurasian wild boars brought to America for hunting purposes, or a wild combination of the two. There are an estimated four million wild pigs in America, present in 39 of the 50 states.


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