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07.19.2021 03:00 PM Hungry Wild Pigs Are Worsening Climate Change
When the invasive swine root through soils around the world, they release as much carbon dioxide as a million cars. Good luck getting rid of them. In their never-ending search for food, wild pigs root through soils, releasing stored carbon.Photograph: KARL-JOSEF HILDENBRAND/Getty Images There is no agent of ecological imperialism more ferocious than the wild pig. Wherever Europeans invaded, from the Americas to Australia, so did their pigs, many of which escaped into the countryside to wreak havoc. The beasts tear through native plants and animals, they spread disease, they destroy crops, and they reconstruct whole ecosystems in their wake. They’re not so much pests as they are chaos embodied.
Now add climate change to the wild pig’s résumé of destruction. In their never-ending search for food, the pigs root through soils, churning the dirt like a farmer tills fields. Scientists already knew, to some extent, that this releases the carbon that’s locked in the soil, but researchers in Australia, New Zealand, and the US have now calculated how much soil wild pigs may be disturbing worldwide. The carbon dioxide emissions that they produce annually, the […]