By KRISTIN FARLEY
6 News Anchor/Reporter
GATLINBURG (WATE) — Did you know there's a crew in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park assigned to hunt wild hogs?
Kim Delozier is the supervisor of wildlife biology. He says four or five of his crew members are responsible for setting traps and often shooting the hogs that wreak havoc in the park.
The crew also helps keep bears out of some of the more public places, but the hogs are often their top concern because they're not native to the area.
“Obviously, they do a lot of damage as well. They eat wildflowers, disturb soil, cause erosion. They eat food that would be available for other species, primarily acorns,” Delozier says.
If you've never seen a hog in the park, that's likely because they're nocturnal.
But chances are, you've seen the damage done by their rooting. They turn up the soil, plants and any roots in their path.
The hogs escaped from a game preserve in North Carolina decades ago. Since the 1950's, wildlife crews have removed nearly 11,000 thousand of them from the park.