When most people think of pigs, bacon or ham likely comes to mind. But conservationists are thinking about a distant cousin of the pig: the javelina.
The javelina is a species of pig that resembles a small version of a wild boar — but they are not technically classified as pigs. The species is unique because they typically live in groups of ten, with the largest reported group numbering over 50.
Javelinas rarely disturb people — except in one way highlighted in a recent video shared on X, formerly known as Twitter. The video shows someone driving on a golf course in Arizona with pieces of turf grass ripped up and discarded across the course.
Em Casey (@emcaseyturf), the superintendent of the golf club, wrote, “What should be one of the most beautiful golf courses in the country is being destroyed by herds of javelina.”
it's literally their habitat lmao https://t.co/p8tfsSzIPA— 🎃🕷 thegaminghyena (spooky mode) 🦇🎃 (@wildlifeco1) October 23, 2023
The user then went on to ask for contact information for individuals in the Arizona government to “help find a solution” to the javelina crisis.
Other X users and conservationists took to the javelina’s defense, noting that the species has made its home in the Southwest region. Although its populations have moved northward in recent years, its homeland remains threatened by golf courses.
In response to encroachment by humans, the species has taken to rifling through trash, drinking water from fountains, and seeking food on golf courses like the one shown in the video.
“[Javelinas] really don’t have much choice but to use artificial resources,” researcher Alexandra Burnett said. “That’s how they’ll survive.”
Golf courses are a particular nuisance for environmentalists. These water-hungry rolling hills of grass take a ton of water to support, which is especially concerning because Arizona’s courses are located in one of the most water-stressed regions of the country. Several areas of the state have cracked down on reinforcing water rules but have left golf courses scot-free.
What’s being done to help the javelina?
Individuals advocating for species caught in the crosshairs of development, like the javelina, is a step in the right direction.
“It’s sad because we have coexisted with wildlife for our entire evolutionary history,” Burnett reported to VOX. “Up until the past 200 or 300 years, this wasn’t seen as an ‘us versus them.’ It was just seen as living.”
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