Hogs have existed on Cumberland Island for hundreds of years, and were likely introduced by Spanish missionaries and/or European settlers.
Feral hogs severely damage the island’s delicate ecosystem in a number of ways:
- Competing with native species for food and shelter
- Destroying the nests of endangered sea turtles and ground-nesting birds, including shorebirds
- Interfering with plant communities, affecting nutrient cycling and patterns of plant succession
- Removing vegetation critical to dune stabilization
Island wildlife, dependent on these plant communities for adequate food, shelter, and nesting, pays the largest price.
Adult sows are capable of breeding twice each year, resulting in an explosive population if unmanaged. The National Park Staff has one dedicated biologist with the authority to hunt; he spends nearly 500 hours doing so each year. The NPS also has an intra-agency agreement that allows support from the USDA’s Wildlife Services program as-needed.
The NPS hosts several managed hunts each year, open to the public with pre-registration; however, these hunts are not considered a reliable or effective means of population control.
The National Park Service does not produce annual reports on the hog population, horse population, or other invasive species management; however, an estimated 5,000 hogs have been removed from Cumberland Island since 2000.
Email the National Park Service now to express your support for the complete eradication of feral hogs from Cumberland Island.