ALBANY — A new law bans the importation and possession of Eurasian boar.
The prolific wild pig, which competes with native wildlife, ravages crops and destroys natural landscape, can also carry diseases that can be passed to humans.
And they’re pricey to eradicate.
The removal of 35 boars in Clinton County, beginning in July 2011, cost the State Department of Environmental Conservation and a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture $68,000 — more than $2,600 per pig.
State Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) sponsored the legislation, which was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday.
Little worked closely with DEC and environmental organizations such as the Adirondack Council to develop and build support for the measure, a press release from her office said.
“When we talk about invasive species, Asian clams, zebra mussels and milfoil come to mind, not wild pigs,” the senator said in a statement.
“But many upstate counties, including in the North Country, have reported feral swine, and these animals are highly destructive, posing a threat to livestock, wild animals, native plants, crops and orchards.
“Addressing this issue now will save money and property.”
The new law, already in effect, bans importing and breeding Eurasian boar or releasing the species to the wild.
As of Sept. 1, 2015, it prohibits the possession, sale, distribution or transportation of Eurasian boar and authorizes DEC to adopt regulations necessary to implement and administer that new section.
The measure also adds a section to the Environmental Conservation Law giving a definition of “Eurasian boar” that specifically excludes domesticated pigs.
First and second violations would incur fines of $500; penalties increase to $1,000 or more for subsequent violations.
A 2012 USDA study on feral swine in the state concluded that “breeding populations are thought to be a result of escaped swine from shooting preserves and breeding facilities.”
Eurasian boars, which mature in six to 10 months, are difficult to contain due to their size and aggressive nature, the study said. They can breed up to twice a year, with litters averaging between six and eight piglets.
“Invasive wild boars have already damaged Adirondack Park farms and forests, and they are a serious threat to the park’s environmental health and economic future,” Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway said in the release.
“We commend Sen. Elizabeth Little of Queensbury for sponsoring and promoting this bill in conjunction with the Assembly. We thank Gov. Andrew Cuomo for signing it into law.”
Other groups supporting the legislation included the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, the Nature Conservancy, Environmental Advocates of New York, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Humane Society and ASPCA.