Did you know wild pigs get stoned in Hawaii?--and I don't mean that people throw rocks at them--wild pigs or feral pigs have been known to eat marijuana growing on the land. Maggie Kline from the east side of the Big Island in the rural subdivision of Fern Forest said the wild boars have devoured her medical marijuana, or as the Hawaiians call it "pakalolo" meaning crazy weed. She blames the increased influx of wild swine to the elderly neighbor couple that have been regularly feeding 100 or so of these wild feral pigs.
Retired and in his eighties, Sueo and Sharene Matsumoto live on their 12 acre lot densely forested with native Ohia trees. They first started to feed pigs when a few baby pigs they had seen with their sow mother showed up without her--their mother had been shot and killed, Sueo heard the shots.
Mr. Matsumoto said that humans are the most advanced creatures on earth, so they have a duty to care for animals. He puts his money where his mouth is and spends $600.00 a month for bags of pig food for these feral pigs, a cross between the domesticated Polynesian pig and the mean looking black, tusked, lean wild Eurasian boar.
A pig feud has erupted between the Matsumoto family and the majority of their surrounding neighbors.
The growing number of pigs are wandering into other neighbor yards and property and causing all kinds of havoc. From tearing up gardens, chewing on water pipes, making pig wallows, and leaving their poop all over--the neighbors have had enough.
The state and county have looked into the problem: the State Health Department said no health hazards were found in the Matsumoto's home they inspected, the Department of Land and Natural Resources said the state does not recommend feeding wild animals but has no authority on private land, and the Hawaii County Planning Department said no zoning laws are being broken as the wild pigs are not confined or being eaten so the property does not qualify as a pig farm.
What the county has done is approve $250,000.00 for the U.S. Department of Agriculture agents to trap and shoot wild boars on private property at the request of the owner. This is not an eradication program but a program to control wild pigs in residential areas.
Read Pig Feud on the Big Island for more details.
What is missing from the above argument is that the wild pigs are destroying the native Hawaiian forest and leading Hawaii's native bird population into extinction.
Pristine Hawaiian rain forests had little in the way of sites for Culex mosquitoes to breed. Culex is a tropical mosquito and evolved with mankind as a “cup” breeder, that is, it needs still, warm, nutrient-rich, small “cups” or puddles to breed in. The pristine forests in Hawai‘i had very few of these. Culex can't breed in running streams or ponds or any clean clear water. Pigs create lots of breeding sites in creating their wallows and especially when they hollow or “trough” hapu‘u, which fill with rain water, thus creating hundreds of breeding sites per acre. Pig fecal matter fouls the wallows, creating perfect Culex breeding sites. These many breeding sites have allowed these mosquitoes to adapt to higher and higher elevations, carrying the malaria and pox with them. Also, when the pigs dig for worms and roots, they cause erosion where rainfall is heavy, causing the siltation of streams and eventually siltation of the reefs. So, not only are they destroying the forest but also stream ecosystems and Hawai‘i’s reef ecosystems. Hawai‘i’s natural environment would be healthier without feral pigs.
From Rare Hawaii
Read our related post Wild Pigs on the Big Island for information on what attracts or repel wild pigs to your property.