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Exotic and Invasive Wildlife

Nilgai and feral hogs are two exotic species that create a lot of damage on the refuge and habitat that native wildlife depend upon.  These two species and their eradication are a management priority for the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

Invasive & Exotic Animals 


Feral Hogs 

These swine were once confined or free-ranging domestic animals that escaped or were purposely let loose into the wild.  They adapted to their new environment and returned to their natural untamed state. Feral hogs can have negative impacts and cause damage to agriculture crops, create rooting holes in roads, cause excessive soil disturbance, compete with native wildlife for food and habitat resources and contaminate water sources for native wildlife and humans.  The Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge utilizes permitted professional trapping and permitted hunting as management methods for controlling their population on refuge lands in Starr, Hidalgo, Willacy and Cameron Counties.  The refuge offers the harvest of feral hogs through the hunt program.  If selected to participate in the hunts, permittees are allowed unlimited harvest of feral hogs during the designated hunt period.  Permitted professional trapping is available on a case by case basis.  For more information on the management of feral hogs, please contact the Refuge Manager. 

 

Nilgail Antelope 

Nilgai are large antelopes with males weighing in excess of 600 pounds.  They are native to Pakistan and India and were imported to South Texas in the 1930’s.  They now readily reproduce and have established free-ranging populations in Kleberg, Kennedy, Brooks, Hidalgo, Willacy and Cameron Counties.  Nilgai consume mainly grass, but will also forage on forbs and will include all plant parts.  Nilgai can have negative impacts to native vegetation, livestock, wildlife and fences.  They compete with native wildlife for vegetation and habitat and cattle for grasses.   Nilgai also don’t respect fences; they would prefer to go through them rather than over or under, creating damage.  Although Nilgai are a non-native invasive species, they are still regarded by hunters as prized trophy, an elusive animal with a meat that is considered a delicacy due to its lean, tender, non-wild flavor.  The Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge utilizes permitted professional hunters as well includes nilgai hunts for the public to control the large antelope on its properties in Hidalgo, Willacy and Cameron Counties.  The refuge offers the harvest of Nilgai through its hunt program.  If selected to participate in refuge hunts, permittees are allowed unlimited harvest of Nilgai during the designated hunt period.  See our hunt opportunities section for more information on this.

For more information on the refuge's efforts to control exotic animals, including the hunt program, please contact the refuge manager.

 
Last Updated: Jun 25, 2012
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