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Wildlife officials plan to kill feral pigs from helicopter in Ephrata

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EPHRATA, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is planning to remove feral pigs from a wildlife area in Grant County by shooting them from a helicopter.

The state is closing public access to a portion of the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area for a month, beginning Friday, while federal agents attract the pigs with bait and slaughter them from the air.

The feral pigs are considered an invasive species that can severely damage fences, fields and wetlands, and which can transmit diseases and parasites to livestock and people.

The state began receiving reports about the pigs a year ago. Matt Monda, a wildlife manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, says officials don’t want the population to get out of hand.

Federal agents will retrieve hair samples from the pigs for DNA analysis to help determine where they came from.