AU receives grant from Moroccan government for wild pig research - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

AU receives grant from Moroccan government for wild pig research

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AUBURN, AL (WTVM) -

Auburn University is taking its wildlife management expertise internationally. A team from the AU School of Forestry and Wild Life Sciences has received an $80,000 grant from Morocco to help control its growing population of wild pigs.

"Pigs have been a really big issue the past 20 or 30 years within the United State and even in places like Morocco where they're actually a native species, but they do cause a significant amount of damage to local crops," explains Mark Smith, Auburn University Assistant Professor and Extensions Specialist.

The team was sought out by the Moroccan government in the spring after hearing AU Professor Steve Ditchkoff speak at a international symposium about the their trapping method and how it can be adapted to different regions

"When they saw the research we were doing here at Auburn, the Moroccan government said, wow, we need to bring that technology and that process over here and see if it works," said Smith.

The system focuses on the trapping of a pig family by removing the entire group of breeding females and their young at one time.

"So you create more or less a hole or an area that's pig free for anywhere from one to two years to allow your crops to mature," says Smith.

The team will travel to Morocco in January to begin pig removal method. Their goal is to also educate natives of the process with the hope of spreading it throughout the country.

"Once we come in, do the research, the pilot study, remove the pigs and see the success, the Moroccan people will have casual training material so they can follow up, take that information and go throughout the county to allow other folks to do the same type of removal," explained Smith.

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