BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – LSU officials say there are more wild pigs than people in the most populated cities in the state. The wild pigs have caused problems with agriculture so LSU came up with a way to control the rapidly growing pig problem and the solution includes an ingredient found in bacon.
“In Louisiana, with our growing seasons, there’s always something to eat,” said Glen Gentry, an animal scientist, director and coordinator of two LSU AgCenter research stations, including Idlewild, which specializes in wildlife management.
An official news release said Gentry has been working on a solution for almost a decade. Gentry teamed up with LSU chemistry professor John Pojman to help fight the “pigdemic”.
Together, they came up with a patent-pending recipe for a bait that wild pigs like to eat but makes them fall asleep. It’s a chewy bait that’s golf-ball-sized and the key ingredient is pink curing salt, or sodium nitrite, which can be found in bacon.
“As a chemist, I’m quite proud that we’re able to simplify and solve a problem using general chemistry to help the citizens of the state,” Pojman said. “A great advantage of being a land-grant university is that we have both an agriculture college and a chemistry department with complementary expertise to tackle real and pressing problems.”
Pigs are more sensitive to the sodium nitrate, LSU said. Pigs that eat bacon or consume sodium nitrite have difficulty breathing and fall asleep.
Gentry’s research has been supported by statewide groups that represent Louisiana’s rice and soybean farmers.
“LSU has come up with a unique and novel approach to reduce non-target exposure using the cameras and remote triggers,” said Jim LaCour, state wildlife veterinarian for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
“It remains to be seen how effective each method will be in the wild,” Gentry said. “You see, pigs are smart and they learn. They’ll walk around a long-grain rice plot to eat medium-grain rice, and we’ve seen them prefer Roundup Ready corn to conventional corn with no genetic modifications. Not that they won’t eat it, but they’ll eat it last. The truth is that with pigs, you just never know quite what to expect.”