Feral hogs are an invasive species expanding their territory in the Central Piedmont and across the United States.

So what’s the big problem? On top of being an invasive species, feral hogs significantly impact both plant communities and wildlife habitat because they root through the ground’s surface in search of food. As a result, these animals destroy agricultural crops and pose a substantial disease risk for both domestic swine and wildlife.

The solution? Drones.

No, really.

In partnership with Wake Forest University’s Unmanned Systems Lab, a 1,400 acre field site has been established in Davie County where aerial imagery is being used to manage and better understand feral hog populations.

In the video below, Stewardship Director of the Land Trust for Central North Carolina, Cody Fulk, speaks on the Land Trust’s methods for managing feral hogs. Fulk interviews Dr. Miles Silman, Director of the Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability, to further elaborate on Wake Forest’s role in this land management project.

“One of the fun things about this project is that it gives us the availability– for the first time– to see where the populations are… Not only have we been helping the Land Trust for Central North Carolina develop a management tool, but we’ve also been advancing the science behind understanding wildlife populations.” Silman said.