- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 8, 2014

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - In an Oct. 5 story about exotic swine in Michigan, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the Michigan Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture were funding a study of feral swine. The study is being funded primarily by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, with some support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Scientists plan study of Michigan’s exotic swine

Researchers plan to trap exotic swine to learn more about their habits in Michigan countryside

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Scientists plan to trap up to 18 feral swine and fit them with radio collars in a five-year project to learn more about the unwanted critters’ movements and habits in rural Michigan.

Researchers with Michigan State University and the University of Michigan-Flint will participate in the $500,000 study funded primarily by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, with some support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Russian boars and other exotic swine numbers are growing rapidly in the U.S., a process that could spread disease to domestic hogs, experts say. They have been found in 72 of 83 Michigan counties.

Dwayne Etter, a wildlife biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said the collaborative research brings “a broad scope of skills and knowledge to address this critical threat to Michigan’s natural resources.”

Getting rid of the animals requires a better understanding of how they spread and how their rooting behavior damages woods and farmlands, according to Michigan State wildlife associate professor Gary Roloff.

“To eradicate feral swine from Michigan, we need to develop a better understanding of their ecology - specifically, how they use and disperse through landscapes,” Roloff said in a statement. “We have several questions to answer that will ultimately help us control feral swine more efficiently.”

Scientists experimented with trapping and collaring one swine this summer. The larger trapping effort starts in January.

“During the five-year project, MSU researchers will measure the location and extent of feral swine rooting activities … and movement, develop a predictive model of how feral swine use habitat and evaluate the efficacy of techniques for controlling feral swine populations,” the university said in a statement.

Among the questions that researchers are addressing is how feral swine respond to severe winters and whether they move into denser cover or closer to domestic facilities. If they chose locations near livestock operations in cold weather, that could increase the risk of disease transmission, researchers say.

Another question is whether there are times of the year when groups might be particularly vulnerable to control.

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Online:

Details: https://bit.ly/1sWIFJG

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