Encounter a puma in the forest? …Or a wild boar?
Joggers and hikers may fear pumas, but how often do they think about wild boars when running through the woods? These animal have thrived and multiplied in California since being introduced in the 1920s. Wild boars can weigh up to 200-300 pounds and can breed twice a year with a litter size averaging 5-6 piglets. Their impacts are large, widespread and mostly negative for our local ecosystems and landowners. Being pigs, they will dig up large areas of soils, consume native plants and animals (being omnivores), and contaminate water resources through wallowing. Although attacks are extremely rare, wild boars have been known to charge and attack people.
People sometimes ask us whether our pumas eat wild boar. We have documented very few instances of this occurring, even in places where we see many photos of pigs. Pumas may avoid them due to their size and ferocity, but also because pumas are deer specialists and may not have the skills to hunt pigs efficiently.
So far the only predators who regularly kills wild boars are people. Wild boars are a recognized game species in California, and you need a permit to hunt them. But many state parks and private landowners are eager to have hunters help control their pig populations so there are plenty of opportunities for pig hunters. The next time you crave some ribs, instead of heading to your grocery store, consider helping your local ecological community by bagging yourself a nice wild pig.