Feral hogs run amok in Tennessee cemetery

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LAFOLLETE, Tenn. (WATE) – Wild hogs have been tearing up the grounds at a Tennessee cemetery, and state authorities have run into a problem trying to resolve the issue.

Officers with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said they’re working on ways to help, but they’re having trouble finding the person who owns Baird Cemetery in LaFollette to get permission to trap the feral hogs.

TWRA lists wild hogs as “a destructive species to be controlled by methods other than sport hunting.” In fact, TWRA said that in 2011, new regulations changed the classification of wild hogs, making them no longer big game animals in Tennessee.

It’s also illegal to possess, transport or release live wild hogs.

Wild hogs also frequent other Tennessee areas, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but they’re not native species. According to the park’s website, “rooting and wallowing” wild hogs are a threat to natural ecological communities.

“The hogs will eat just about anything, including red-cheeked salamanders (Plethodon jordani), which are found only in the park, and the roots and foliage of wildflowers that often take years to mature and bloom,” the park stated.

According to a 2015 survey of 1,620 Tennessee landowners, the effort to control wild hogs on their property resulted in a total of $28.31 million in damage and control costs.

Nationally, there’s currently an effort to eradicate wild hogs due to their destructive and disease-carrying nature, which could also affect other wildlife and domestic livestock, said National Park Service officials.

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