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A "rogue pig" was safely removed Tuesday morning after "hanging around" Custer State Park over the weekend.

"The pig was much faster than anticipated," said Kobee Stalder, the visitor services manager who helped capture the animal with an "old-fashioned" tackle.

The pig was probably owned by people at one point since he's been neutered, Stalder said. But it's unclear if he escaped and made his way to the park or was dropped off by owners who no longer wanted him. 

"How long it's been roaming around or anything, we don't know," he said. 

The hog was first seen Saturday "just hanging around" and sunbathing near Center Lake, Stalder said. Staff placed live traps filled with food scraps such as cucumber and pineapple peals, but the pig didn't bite. 

So on Tuesday morning, seven people — park staff and law enforcement plus biologists and a conservation officer from Game, Fish and Parks — tried to capture the animal with nets, Stalder said. But the pig evaded the nets so the group decided to chase him until they could tackle and transfer him into a cage. They then brought the pig to the Battle Mountain Humane Society in Hot Springs. 

"He's doing good," Tonia Wagoner, founder and president of the shelter, said Tuesday afternoon. 

She said the pig isn't very friendly toward humans and is spending his time relaxing in a large pen with cabbage, bread, dog food and a dog house. A veterinarian will examine him Thursday, and she plans to learn more about what kind of food he needs. 

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Wagoner said she's happy the park took the time to safely remove the animal before a hunter decided to shoot it. 

The shelter will post the pig on its Facebook page and website to see if he belongs to anyone, Wagoner said. If not, the animal will be put up for adoption. 

Stalder said it was important to remove the pig since he had tusks and could have injured a visitor or ruined the land.

Hogs can be "pretty destructive" and feral ones are a major problem in some parts of the country, he said. 

Stalder said the park has had moose and other wild animals wander into the park, but never pigs. 

"It was definitely a first for us," he said.

The "rogue pig" was "one ham of a situation," the park said on its Facebook page. 

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— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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