LANSING (AP) - A March deadline for removing exotic swine from ranches in Michigan will stand after a ban on the animals became official, the state said.
An invasive species order banning the animals took effect Saturday, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported. Facilities where the animals are shot or bred must get rid of them by the end of March, said Mary Dettloff, a spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resources.
Ranches now have time to organize hunts to kill swine on their land, Dettloff said. After April 1, state inspections are planned to ensure compliance.
“The facilities will need to determine the best way for them to depopulate their sporting swine. For shooting facilities, they can schedule hunts to reduce their populations. For breeding facilities… they can sell their pigs to facilities here for hunts here of or out-of-state,” Dettloff said.
Over the summer, DNR officers and biologists visited about 65 facilities, including about 10 that breed the swine, for baseline inspections, she said.
The DNR has declared swine breeds such as Russian, Eurasian and razorback to be invasive species. They are bred and used for hunting purposes.
Environmentalists don’t like the animals because, when they escape and establish feral populations, they can destroy birds, wildlife and habitat.
Ranches have lobbied to keep the animals, which are popular among some hunters.
Earlier this year, the DNR announced details of its invasive species order for the animals. The effective date of the order was scheduled for this month to give the Legislature more time to pass laws regulating sporting swine hunting and breeding facilities in Michigan.
Such laws weren’t approved, so the DNR will move forward with enforcement. The Legislature, however, still could put regulations in place.
“If they do, the regulatory laws would supersede the (DNR) director’s order making sporting swine an invasive species,” Dettloff said.
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