Canada super pigs is threatening to spread south of the border, and northern states such as Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana are taking precautions to prevent the invasion.
Wild pigs in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba offer a new menace in Canada. They are frequently crossbreds that combine the survival qualities of wild Eurasian boar with the size and fecundity of farmed pigs to generate a “super pig” that is out of control.
Feral swine, according to Ryan Brook, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan and one of Canada’s leading authority on the issue, are “the most invasive animal on the planet” and “an ecological train wreck.”
Canada super pigs threatening to invade northern U.S
Pigs were not indigenous to North America. While wild pigs have roamed areas of the continent for generations, Canada’s problem dates back only to the 1980s, when the government encouraged farms to cultivate wild boar, according to Brook. After the market peaked in 2001, several dissatisfied farmers just cut their fences, allowing the animals to roam free.
The pigs proved to be exceptionally good at surviving Canadian winters. They consume anything, including crops and wildlife, since they are smart, adaptive, and hairy. They destroy land by digging for pests and crops. They have the potential to bring catastrophic illnesses to hog farms, such as African swine fever. They also proliferate swiftly. In a year, a sow can produce six piglets in a litter and rear two litters.
That means that 65 percent or more of a wild pig population might be killed each year and the population would still grow, according to Brook. He claims that hunting exacerbates the situation. Hunters have a two to three percent success rate, and other jurisdictions have prohibited hunting because it makes pigs more shy and nocturnal, making them more difficult to track down and exterminate.
Every year, wild pigs contribute roughly $2.5 billion in crop damage in the United areas, primarily in southern areas like Texas. They may also be hostile toward people. In 2019, a woman in Texas was killed by wild pigs.
Wild pig eradication is no longer practicable in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, according to Brook. However, the situation is not dismal everywhere, and a few states in the United States have banned them. The trick, he says, is to have a detection system that detects them early and rapidly and then responds promptly.
Brook and his colleagues have recorded 62,000 sightings of wild pigs throughout Canada. They’ve been observed from the air on both sides of the Canada-North Dakota border. They’ve also documented a sighting in Manitoba, which is only 18 miles (28 kilometers) away from Minnesota.
“Nobody should be surprised when pigs start walking across that border if they haven’t already,” Brook told the audience. “The question is: What will be done about it?”
According to Brook, Montana has been the most serious at keeping feral pigs out. It prohibited the production and trafficking of wild pigs inside the state.
“The only path forward is you have to be really aggressive and you have to use all the tools in the toolbox,” said Brook.
This might include large ground traps with names like “BoarBuster” or helicopter-fired net guns. Some states and provinces have adopted “Squeal on Pigs” crowdsourcing tracking initiatives. Poisons like sodium nitrite have also been researched by scientists, however they pose a risk to other animals.
Minnesota is one among the states attempting to keep the swine from spreading. In February, the state Department of Natural Resources is slated to submit a report outlining flaws in its management plan and recommending new preventative measures. Meanwhile, the US Department of Agriculture is beefing up border security using planes and drones.
Minnesota was proclaimed an eradication state after the USDA Wildlife Services shot and killed a herd of pigs that had wandered off a farm and went feral in the far northwest part of the state in 2016 — but not before reproducing and rooting up a wildlife preserve. As far as he knows, no really wild pigs have found their way to Minnesota, according to Gary Nohrenberg, the state’s director of Wildlife Services.
How Wild Pigs are Threatening the Ecosystems and Economy
According to the USDA, feral swine have been documented in at least 35 states. The swine population in those states is estimated to be over 6 million, according to the agency.
The USDA has awarded financing to 33 states since founding the National Feral Swine Management Program in 2014, according to Mike Marlow, an assistant program director. He stated that their objective is to exterminate wild pigs in areas where numbers are low or nascent, while limiting harm in areas where they are already entrenched, such as Texas and the southern states.
According to him, the initiative has been successful in states with tiny populations such as Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Washington. In North Dakota, the creatures are occasionally observed and rapidly eradicated.