Posted: Apr 11, 2014 4:51 PM by Troy Gaulden
Updated: Apr 11, 2014 5:45 PM
BATON ROUGE - With hogs running wild across the state, the LSU Agricultural Center is experimenting with a salt-based poison to decrease the feral hog population.
Feral hogs cause $1.5 billion of damage each year across the southeastern United States according to the AgCenter, which also estimates around 500,000 wild hogs call Louisiana home.
Now the center is researching the use of sodium nitrite to poison wild hogs.
"When a hog ingests enough of the sodium nitrite it interferes with the bloods capability to carry oxygen through the body, so it effectively suffocates the hog in a chemical way," said Andre' Brock.
Researchers plan to use the greediness of feral hogs against them. They're experimenting with different ways to bait hogs into eating the poison, like using strawberry flavored gelatin.
"It's considered a really humane poison because the hog is going to go to sleep. It's comparable to you and me eating a real big meal and we get sleepy. It will go to sleep and just not wake up. It's body will shut down," said Brock.
The AgCenter says the sodium nitrite poison shouldn't harm humans and other animals.
"Toxicity is not much of an issue. Deer, sheep, dogs, several other species have been looked at as far as their toxicity level and how much they can tolerate. They're all lower than hogs. Hogs seem to have a much greater sensitivity than other species," said Brock.
The poison is already in use in Australia. The AgCenter says the poison should get the green light in Louisiana in the next few years to help gain control of feral hogs.