Documenting wild boar sightings in Alberta

Documenting wild boar sightings in Alberta
May 20, 2021

The Alberta Invasive Species Council launched its Squeal on Pigs campaign

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

An Alberta organization is asking anyone across the province to share wild boar sightings.

The Alberta Invasive Species Council recently launched its “Squeal on Pigs” campaign to raise awareness about these animals and the damage they can do to crops, livestock and property.

Wild boar, also known as feral pigs “predate on livestock and have the potential to transfer disease to hog, cattle, wildlife and humans,” a campaign information sheet says. “Hunting is not an effective control option.”

Some diseases wild boars have been known to carry include foot and mouth disease, tuberculosis, hepatitis E and classical swine fever.

An outbreak of foot and mouth disease “would trigger a complete and immediate shut down of all Alberta pork and beef exports, and cost $65 billion nationwide,” the organization says.

Citizens are encouraged to become familiar with the signs of wild boar activity and share it.

Clumps of hair in barbed wire, wallowing and rooting damage are evidence wild boar have been in the area.

Residents who spot wild boar damage or the animals themselves are asked to submit a report to the Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System app, calling 310-FARM, emailing or contacting their local municipal office.

These animals are not native to North America.

Early explorers and settlers brought the pigs to the U.S. in the 1500s as a source of food.

In the 1980s and 90s, these animals were introduced in Alberta as a way to diversify the province’s livestock sector.

Over the years, some have escaped enclosures and established multiple feral populations because of the animals’ reproductive rate.

They can have two litters per year with each litter containing around six piglets.

Hunting is not a viable control option because once a hunter eliminates some of the animals, the others communicate with one another about the threat and change their behaviour.

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