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Guam's military bases controlling feral pigs, deer

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Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base are aiming to control the bases feral pig and deer populations. Starting in April, the island's military commands will launch a program that will not only control, but monitor the wild pig and deer population on base.

Joint Region Marianas public affairs officer Lieutenant Tim Gorman told KUAM News, "It's a Navy contractor that is being hired to come to the island and, they're going to study how both feral pigs and deer on Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam and as part of that program they will be putting down some deer and pigs."

At Naval Magazine alone, it's estimated there are 400 pigs and 650 will deer, and according to Gorman the situation is out of control. "And it's not just a problem for base services, but it's also a problem for the environment. So these invasive species they root around in the ground they cause soil erosion which causes runoff into our coral reefs and it's definitely becoming an environmental nuisance," he explained.

Unlike in the past, the military this time is working with the public sector to provide the meat to the community. Gorman stated, "I think the big change is that we're actually providing the deer meat to the public, and we knew when we were going through the planning process for this that there's the potential for some deer carcasses at that point the admiral actually reached out to the governor and spoke to his office and said do you think this is something local residents might be interested in and the Governor's Office said, 'Yeah, sure.'"

Village mayors will be notified when the deer meat will be available, but due to USDA regulations, the pig meat cannot be distributed. The most important part however about this effort according to Lieutenant Gorman is what will be learned about the feral animals. "Outside of that they are going to be studying both the deer and the pig, so that involves putting a radio caller on some of the animals studying their behavior how their social lives are, who they associate with what part of the base are most of the time. So that if they are needed in future years to come back and do this population control again they can," he said.

The Navy-led environmental project starts in April and ends in May.

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