Mississippi funding fence to keep animals off runways

Mississippi funding fence to keep animals off runways
Naval Air Station Meridian (Source: WTOK)

MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi will pay $3 million for a fence to keep wild animals off the runways of a military base.

A Navy official said the state’s job-creation agency, Mississippi Development Authority, has offered a grant to pay for the barrier at Naval Air Station Meridian.

The new chain-link fence would be built inside an existing fence surrounding the base, and bottom of the new fence will be buried deep, the Meridian Star reported.

Deer, cattle, hogs and coyotes have reached the property in recent years, and a farmer reported that a hunter killed a sow near the fence last month, said Jim Copeland, community planning and liaison officer for the base.

Pigs have a low center of gravity and can cause a plane to lose control if they are hit by the nose wheel, Copeland said.

In 1988, the pilot of an F-16 fighter jet was forced to eject after the jet struck wild pigs at Jacksonville International Airport. The pilot survived and the $16 million jet was destroyed.

Copeland said the secretary of the Navy would need to approve the MDA grant, which could happen by summer.