Historical, current, and potential population size estimates of invasive wild pigs (Sus scrofa) in the United States

Jesse Lewis, Joseph L. Corn, John J. Mayer, Thomas R. Jordan, Matthew L. Farnsworth, Christopher L. Burdett, Kurt C. VerCauteren, Steven J. Sweeney, Ryan S. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


To control invasive species and prioritize limited resources, managers need information about population size to evaluate the current state of the problem, the trend in population growth through time, and to understand the potential magnitude of the problem in the absence of management actions. This information is critical for informing management actions and allocating resources. We used two national-scale data sets to estimate historical, current, and future potential population size of invasive wild pigs (Sus scrofa; hereafter wild pigs) in the United States. Between 1982 to present, the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study mapped the distribution of wild pigs in the United States. In addition, recent research has predicted potential population density of wild pigs across the United States by evaluating broad-scale landscape characteristics. We intersected these two data sets to estimate the population size of wild pigs in 1982, 1988, 2004, 2010, 2013, and 2016. In addition, we estimated potential population size if wild pigs were present at equilibrium conditions in all available habitat in each state. We demonstrate which states have experienced recent population growth of wild pigs and are predicted to experience the greatest population increase in the future without sufficient management actions and policy implementation. Regions in the western, northern, and northeastern United States contain no or few wild pig populations, but could potentially support large numbers of these animals if their populations become established. This information is useful in identifying regions at greatest risk if wild pigs become established, which can assist in prioritizing management actions aimed at controlling or eliminating this invasive species across broad to local scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2373-2384
Number of pages12
JournalBiological Invasions
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 15 2019


  • Feral swine
  • Introduced species
  • Invasive species
  • Population size
  • Range expansion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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