North Carolina's wild pig population is increasing and expanding. The state's history of wild pigs began in 1912 with the introduction of European pigs into Graham County for hunting purposes. Many of them escaped from the holding areas and into the mountains. Later they reached the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As the pigs are a threat to native wildlife and habitat both inside and outside the park, the National Park Service began a removal program in 1977. To date, nearly 10,000 pigs have been shot or removed, but park officials admit the problem is still there. The danger of the wild pigs' expansion to the counties of eastern North Carolina is that they could bring disease which could devastate the pork industry.