A group of feral pigs are plaguing upstate New York, ravaging crops and ground-nesting birds, breeding like crazy, and generally causing a gross ruckus all around.
They start to breed as early as 6 months of age, bearing litters of as many as 10 piglets. They carry disease and can be aggressive toward people. They have even inspired a new television series, "Hogs Gone Wild," about efforts to hunt them from Hawaii to Alabama.
Perhaps most worrisome is their reputation as eating machines: the pigs devour ground-nesting birds and reptiles, fawns and domestic livestock, native vegetation and crops. Feral pigs have already proliferated in parts of western New York. But state officials are drawing a line in the topsoil, so to speak, determined to protect both the agrarian economy and the fragile ecosystem from the nascent herd - or "sounder" in swine-speak - in the town of Peru.