Pig hunting derby set for mid-April - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Pig hunting derby set for mid-April

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - It looks like residents have more than just the brown tree snake and the tiny fire ant to worry about.  A long-time invasive species is culprit for the island's increased erosion and thousands of dollars in destroyed property. The Department of Agriculture is planning to launch a new program to get the problem under control.

It's the first of its kind, as the island is preparing to host a pig hunting derby. According to local action strategy and Micronesia Challenge Coordinator for Guam Coastal Management Christine Camacho, feral or wild pigs should be a growing concern for all residents because their destructive behavior has the potential to hinder Guam's tourism industry. She said, "They make these lovely puddles so their behavior uproots a lot of the native plants; they're very destructive behavior on our ecosystem. We lose native plants and the end result becomes a lot of erosion during heavy rains; all that washes down and it affects our water quality.

"So between fresh water and our marine life, which to include the bigger picture is the coral reef out there - everything plays a role."

With recent reports of wild pig attacks, Camacho says residents shouldn't make the mistake of feeding wild pigs. "We come closer and closer to interacting with feral animals that the fear especially when people feed them," she added. "You'll hear stories where people will be outside and they'll throw bread because they want to see it come closer. These are behaviors that have to stop, we can't be feeding a feral animal and hope there will be no ramifications for that. They'll get braver, they'll come closer, and they'll expect to find food from us."

Camacho adds that pig hunting may be a yearlong sport with no catch limits, but the derby gives hunters incentive to help tame the population. "This is one response to try and highlight the education as far as the impacts invasive species have on our island and what we can do to try to combat those problems, so the derby is just another innovative way to get people involved and aware," she said.

The islandwide event is scheduled for April 14-15 in conjunction with Earth Day festivities. Participants must be 18 or older to participate with a licensed firearms ID or use archery to remove animals. Hunters may game on private property with written permission. To pre-register, call any mayors' office.

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