Feral pigs worry W. Ashley resident

This feral pig was trapped in 2013 in Janet Segal’s yard in the Shadowmoss development. Segal is encouraging city and county leaders to reduce the number of pigs before clearing woodlands for the Long Savannah development.

Janet Segal worries that the massive Long Savannah development will disturb the feral pig population and send the destructive creatures into nearby neighborhoods.

The 1,500-acre development on the outer edge of West Ashley is expected to get underway soon. But while many area residents worry about traffic and noise, Segal is worried that the development will disrupt the pigs’ wooded habitat. She’s encouraging city and county leaders to consider reducing the number of pigs before construction begins.

Segal, who lives in Shadowmoss, suffered about $10,000 in damage to her yard in 2013. She thinks construction on Bees Ferry Road disturbed the pigs’ habitat and sent them looking for a new home.

“I woke up one morning and there was no yard left,” she said. “It’s unbelievable what pigs can do. It looked like drunk guys on a bulldozer came by and tore up the entire yard.”

They destroyed a lighting system, an irrigation system, and most of the grass and plants, she said.

And her insurance didn’t cover the damage.

Clemson University extension agent Ben Powell said that any time a habitat is destroyed, wildlife will be disrupted. Feral pigs will seek another wooded area away from people, he said, but they could easily tear up some suburban yards while making their way to a new home.

And there are a lot of pigs out there, he said. They reproduce quickly. Females have two or three litters each year with about six pigs in each litter.

The pigs are considered a nuisance species, he said, and it’s legal to shoot them as long as people do that only during the day and they are following local gun ordinances, Powell said.

City and county leaders could ask the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s wildlife services division to remove them, Powell said. But most cities and counties don’t get involved in feral pig management, he said.

Charleston County Councilman Vic Rawl, who lives in the Bees Ferry Road area, said he doesn’t think there’s much anybody can do about the problem. “Basically all of the development is moving wildlife out,” he said.

He’s had a few pigs in his own yard, he said. “I’m a hunter,” he said, “and I’ve eliminated a few.”

Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.