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Wild Boar: Squeal on Pigs

Wild Boar: The Facts

While feral pigs (wild boar) are one of the most damaging invasive species in North America, hunting them is not a viable control option. The Alberta Invasive Species Council (AISC) is asking for your help to report observations of wild boar at large and the damage they may have caused using the free AISC invasive species reporting app, EDDMapS, by emailling, or by calling 310-FARM.

All reports are provided to the Alberta Pork and the Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation Wild Boar at Large Control Team who work with local stakeholders to come up with solutions.

Wild boar at large were introduced to Alberta in the 1980s and 90s as livestock species in an effort to diversify agriculture. Since then, many have escaped their enclosures and thrived as a feral species, causing damage to crops, pastures, property, and the environment. They are known to devastate crops and predate livestock such as goats and newborn cattle. While there are some remaining wild boar farms in Alberta these are required to meet stringent containment standards to operate. 

One of the main concerns is the significant threat of disease transfer from wild boar at large to Alberta's domestic hog and beef industry, as identified in a recent risk assessment undertaken by Alberta Irrigation. Wild boar at large are known to host 89 different diseases that can be transmitted to livestock, humans, and wildlife. For example, foot and mouth disease, an outbreak of which would trigger a complete shut down of all Alberta beef and pork exports, and cost approximately $65 billion dollars nationwide. 

Controlling Wild Boar at Large

Initial control efforts in the form of a Bounty Program were deemed ineffective and may have actually exacerbated the issue. Wild boar are incredibly smart and when only a few individuals are hunted from a larger group (sounder) the remaining boar quickly learn to evade further hunting efforts by dispersing, changing movement patterns, and becoming nocturnal. These tricks are then passed on future generations. The only way to effectively eliminate wild boar at large in an area is by eradicating the entire sounder simultaneously.

In response to this, Alberta Pork and Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation have established a Wild Boar at Large Control Program, which involves the coordinated and strategic removal of entire souders. The team uses the reports of wild boar at large to work with local stakeholders to come up with solutions.

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