On October 22, X (formerly Twitter) user Em Casey, Assistant Superintendent at Seven Canyons Golf Club in Sedona, Arizona, posted her frustration that herds of javelina have been destroying "one of the most beautiful golf courses in the country." She shared a video of the "carnage" along with this text:
Come along with me on my carnage (I mean course) check this morning. What should be one of the most beautiful golf courses in the country is being destroyed by herds of javelina. If anyone has a contact in AZ state govt that can help us find a solution please pass it along.
She followed up with more info:
…it's 100% javelina. We've got between 100-150 of them. Somewhere between 4-5 herds surround the golf course property.
If you don't know what a javelina is, this description from The Washington Post is helpful:
With a boar-shaped body, short legs, hoofed feet and a piglike snout, javelina could easily be mistaken for swine. But the salt-and-pepper-colored mammal is a collared peccary, a type of hoofed animal that lives in the Desert Southwest, which includes Arizona as well as New Mexico and West Texas. Unlike wild hogs and pigs, which were introduced to the country by European settlers, peccaries evolved in South America before migrating north into the southwestern United States and are considered native to the region, according to the National Park Service.They have been seen eating small animals, but their preferred meals tend to be roots, grasses, seeds and fruits.
The Guardian reports that groundskeepers at the golf course have resorted to spraying the course with chili oil in order to discourage the javelinas from causing further destruction. The Guardian provides more information:
According to Golf Monthly, the rooting javelinas have been active for several weeks, creating a sprawling patchwork of oversized divots that would put even the most hapless hacker to shame. Tees, fairways and rough of multiple holes have all experienced the unwelcome excavation.
Until the pack's arrival, Seven Canyons, situated in a canyon in the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness area of central Arizona, was a picture-perfect example of a golf resort, its scenic panorama described by its general manager, Dave Bisbee, as "the Imax of golf". Now, in Casey's description, it is a scene of carnage caused by the javelinas.
The herbivores, which resemble wild boar in size and appearance, are native to the south-western United States into central South America. They travel in small herds.
And they feast primarily on cacti, the Texas parks and wildlife service says, but also have a fondness for numerous other plants including mesquite beans, fruits and insects.
The animals' reputation for ferocity is undeserved, the service says, although when cornered, "they can defend themselves very effectively with sharp canine teeth or 'tusks'."
Many folks can't muster much empathy for the golf course, though, and have come out in support of the displaced javelina. The Washington Post explains:
The javelina that have been visiting the golf course in Arizona probably are foraging, rutting through fairways and around tees for roots, Vox reported.
On social media, many people are coming to the javelinas' defense, pointing out that the 200-acre golf course is another example of how human development can reduce wild habitats. The animals' defenders have signaled their support using the hashtag "#TeamJavelina."
"Imagine getting upset at a bunch of Round Bois because you decided to make an ecologically dead landscape that wastes water for one of the world's most boring sport in the middle of a desert," one user posted on X.
For the record, I'm totally #TeamJavelina!