SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Louisiana is home to more than 1 million feral hogs.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries suggests that 70% of hogs are killed every year to maintain a stable environment.

According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, feral hogs are estimated to cause in excess of $75 million in damage to Louisiana agriculture annually.

The LDWF’s state veterinarian, Jim LaCour, said that hogs are not native to North America and that they reproduce quickly and a lot.

“They compete directly with wildlife for food resources such as acorns and other things other mass. They route up and eat earthworms. They cause erosion because they’re rooting they contaminate water with E. coli and other bacteria from their waste products. And they are just generally bad for the environment.” LaCour said.

Louisiana State University’s Agriculture and Chemistry Departments have created a new pig poison to harmlessly kill feral hogs while keeping the environment safe.

John Pojman with LSU Chemistry said the two departments have been working on this project for more than seven years.

“So it’s a really a wonderful collaboration between a basic science department like chemistry with an applied one like the Ag Center in a way that hopefully will generate a product that will be profitable for the state of Louisiana and help solve a problem that the citizens of our state face” Pojman said.

Feral hogs are a threat to wildlife not just in Louisiana.

“It’s a worldwide problem,” Pojman said. “So we’re very, very excited because it’s gratifying to be new. We’re a land grant university, and our mission is to help the citizens of the state of Louisiana and it’s really fun because we’re using general chemistry doesn’t mean it’s easy chemistry, but as general chemistry, and we’re applying it then in an area that I never anticipated working.”

There have been previous attempts to handle hog populations.

“It compared to some of the other baits that have been tried in the past. It’s a pretty good format it doesn’t really crumble and make small pieces that birds can eat or stuff like that. So it’s it’s really promising for us,” LaCour said.

LaCour said, even if this poison works as well as hoped, it will not eradicate feral hogs in Louisiana.

“Often say, people think that once we get a poison that’ll be the end of the pigs and you know…we’ve had rat poisons for hundreds of years. And we still have rats,” he said. “So it probably will not extirpate or complete completely remove all the pigs but it will be a very handy product that can be used to get rid of pigs on the landscape, which is much less labor intensive than manual removal of those pigs.”

The next step for the patent pig poison is to get approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. It is somewhat inexpensive and easy to use.

“It makes it unable to carry oxygen so the pigs just basically go to sleep and because they can’t get enough oxygen and they pass away. It’s painless, it’s humane and it’s relatively quick,” LaCour said. “Most of them are down and gone with a kick within a couple of hours of consuming a bite. So it’s very, very promising.”

Once the the hogs die from the poison they will not be dangerous for other animals or people to eat.