NEEDLES — A temporary closure on Havasu National Wildlife Refuge has been lifted, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, after an operation illustrating cooperation between federal government agencies.
Most of the refuge was closed during last week’s feral swine eradication efforts. The main river channel remained open since it is a navigable waterway.
This is the second year that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services conducted aerial operations on the refuge. It was expected that eradication efforts could take up to two weeks, but instead only impacted refuge land access from Tuesday to Friday morning.
The USDA eliminated 67 invasive feral swine on the refuge in just 3.5 days of flying. In February 2017, 65 feral swine were eradicated by aerial operations. In addition, it was discovered by refuge staff that a number of swine perished in wildfires that swept through the refuge in 2015 and 2016.
“These swine live in areas of the refuge that have thick, dense vegetation that can be nearly impossible for a person to crawl through. USDA personnel noted that approximately half of the swine taken this year where non-breeding individuals,” stated Refuge Manager Richard Meyers. USDA’s efforts are helping remove swine before they become part of the breeding population.
Staff from the refuge — a facility operated by the USFWS, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior — and the USDA will continue to monitor for feral swine using trail cameras and looking for signs (scat, tracks, rooting, habitat damage) and will continue with follow-up efforts to get Havasu’s feral swine population to zero.