Texas has declared open season on wild hogs!   In fact,
they're offering free room and board to hunters.

It's understandable.  Wild hogs are among the most
destructive invasive species in the United States today.  

Some two to six million are destroying crops, tearing up
recreational areas, terrorizing tourists in state and
national parks, and squeezing out other wildlife,
according to
John Morthland in a 2011 article in
Smithsonian magazine.  

And about half of the offenders are in Texas, where they
do some $400 million in damage each year.  Texas
allows hunters to kill wild hogs year-round without limits

Wild hogs will eat almost anything.  They use their long
snouts tipped with digging tools to dig holes as deep
as three feet.  They destroy or eat whole fields of crops.  
They erode soil and muddy streams.  They eat feed set
out for livestock, and occasionally the livestock
itself--lambs, kids, calves.  They also eat deer, quail
and the eggs of endangered sea turtles.  

They carry diseases.  No wonder Texas wants to get rid
of them.

But we don't want hunters shooting up the squirrels,
opossums, and raccoons in our backyard.  

For years, the
L.A. Department of Animal Services
routinely trapped and euthanized wild animals discovered in
the city.  The focus was on removal.  But now all that has
changed.  

The current focus is on coexistence, deterrents and
discouragement .   Some ways of doing that include not
leaving food out, even for pets; locking garbage cans; putting
bleach on discarded food items to cover the smell; picking up
fruit fallen from trees; clearing woodpiles and dense
vegetation; avoiding feeding; keeping pets inside; and using
spray repellants.

Some cities have reduced their
Canadian goose population
by removing their eggs.

Some 40% of us attract wildlife with bird feeders, ponds and
overgrown landscaping.

Consider ways you can be a good neighbor to the wild
creatures around us.

But as we care for animals--both tame and wild--we must
never forget our fellow human beings who are living without
adequate food or safe drinking water, or clothing or shelter.  

We must be particularly sensitive to and eager to help those
suffering from war and natural disaster around the world--in
Syria and the Middle East, in South Sudan and the Central
African Republic, in Haiti and the Philippines.  The countries
change, but the need never changes.  We must be our
brothers' keepers.
February 2014
Billie Silvey
What
Now?