CAMERON PARISH, LA (KPLC) - According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a large portion of the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge will be closed for safety purposes during feral hog management operations which will conducted all day Tuesday, Feb. 26 and Wednesday, Feb. 27 from La. 27, from the north boundary to the south boundary, westward all the way to Sabine Lake.
Officials said the refuge remains closed to public boat access through March 15. Everyone is reminded not to enter the refuge from any adjacent lands or waterways into this designated area of Sabine refuge during these two days.
"The boat launches with access into the closed area will be locked to prevent launching. Law enforcement officers, along with staff, will be located at remote waterway entry sites to inform the public to remain outside the area," the release states.
Officials said on Feb. 26 only, the Wetland Walkway and Blue Crab Recreation Areas will be closed from sunrise to sunset to ensure safety during this management operation.
All other recreation areas along La. 27 accessible by vehicle will remain open, along with the West Cove boat launch with access to the east, toward Calcasieu Lake, officials said.
"The purpose of the feral hog management operation is to protect 125,790 acres of fresh, intermediate and brackish refuge marshes from feral hog (Sus scrofa) induced erosion, migratory bird habitat destruction and migratory bird nesting mortality. The rapidly expanding distribution of feral hogs in the United States has caused great concern for many land and resource managers. The ecologically-rich marshes of Sabine National Wildlife Refuge have not been immune to the invasion of these exotic species. Cursory observations suggest accelerated increases over the last few years. Feral hogs are omnivores devouring flora and fauna alike," the release states.
Officials have said that marsh habitat, throughout Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, has been compromised because of extensive rooting (foraging for food) by feral hogs.
Since 1990, feral hog sightings have been primarily reported on the western side of Sabine National Wildlife Refuge known as Marceaux Island.
Marceaux Island is an area of concern, as it has been designated as "Marceaux Island Prairie Natural Area" by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries as well as the Louisiana Natural Heritage Foundation, based on the existence of remnant prairie habitat, according to officials.
For more information, call 337-598-2216.