ITHACA, N.Y. — Some travelers on the Black Diamond Trail this weekend encountered an unusual creature in their path this weekend — a potbelly pig.
Wildlife staff at the Department of Environmental Conservation have received various reports of a pig in that area for about a year, a spokesperson with the DEC said Monday. Generally they’ve been spotted in the fields adjacent to the trail.
Over the weekend, pictures circulated of a large pig on the Black Diamond Trail, which spans from Ithaca to Trumansburg. The DEC confirmed from a photo it was a potbelly pig, and was likely someone’s pet that got loose or was let out.
Justin Gansowski, supervisory wildlife biologist at the USDA, also said the pig appeared to be a domestic pig, and was able to identify it from a feral pig from the overall body shape and how low to the ground it is.
Though the pig bears some resemblance with its mane and straight tail, it was not a Eurasian boar, also called a feral pig. There have been feral pigs in New York in the past, but there have been no confirmed sightings for years in Region 7, which includes Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, Oswego, Tioga and Tompkins counties. Feral pigs have never been spotted in Tompkins County, the DEC said.
Eurasian boar were considered a big threat to New York because they are not native, highly adaptable and destructive to crops and native wildlife. They also carry a number of diseases and have been known to be aggressive toward people, according the the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Unlike domestic pigs, Eurasian boar have long, straight narrow snouts, a long straight tail with a tuft at the end and erect hairy ears. Some have a mane of hair on the back and most have prominent tusks.
According to the DEC’s website, the DEC and United States Department of Agriculture “have worked hard to eradicate these animals from the state’s landscape. We are now working to prevent their reintroduction into New York.”
Though eradication efforts have been successful, the DEC asks that people do report any possible sightings. The DEC also encourages people to be cautious around any unfamiliar wild animals or pets.
For more information on how to report sightings, visit this DEC web page.
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