Feral Hogs: Tackling One of Canada’s Worst Invasive Species

With no signs of slowing down, feral pigs are considered by some to be one of Canada’s most destructive invasive species.

Although the grasslands have been the most affected, other provinces are feeling the effects of the annoying animal.

A golf course on Vancouver Island recently found out after a group of pigs began tearing up sections of the fairway earlier this year.

“There were seven or eight of them, so we had the mother and the little infants and they kept wandering around and littering their waste, and then when the golfers come, they’re gone like beetles,” said Norm Jackson, Cowichan Golf Club professional director. in Duncan, BC, near Victoria.

The pigs have been an annoyance for months and are believed to have escaped from a neighboring property.

Even then, Jackson says this has been an ongoing problem for years.

Staff are continually repairing damaged areas in the field, he says, which could end up being costly in the long run.

However, the club’s concern is not only the safety of customers, but also the care of animals.

“If there’s anyone out there who has any suggestions, we’d certainly be happy to hear,” Jackson said.

The “huge shopping list” of risks from feral hogs is not limited to Canada, says Ryan Brook, an associate professor in the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Agriculture and Bioresources.

“They are incredibly adaptable. They are, in my opinion, and I think many agree with me, that this is the worst invasive large mammal on the planet,” he told CTV News.

Feral pigs reproduce quickly and can live in a variety of environments, says Brook. They are also rooters, meaning they use their noses to dig into the ground for food, such as insect larvae, leaving a “terrible mess” in their wake.

Since they don’t have sweat glands, Brook says they wallow in the mud to cool off, which can spread parasites and disease in the water.

“As soon as it’s outside the fence, regardless of what it is specifically or what breed or what type, I don’t care, it’s a wild boar and that’s a risk to the environment,” he said.

“It’s a risk to agriculture, it’s a risk to public health, and I can’t stress enough how serious this problem is.”

Some Canadian provinces have contact information for people report wild pigswhich Brook says is the preferred option over a do-it-yourself approach.

In most cases, people trying to get rid of boars end up simply pushing them somewhere else, creating subgroups that spread in multiple directions, or scaring the animals enough that they turn nocturnal.

Meanwhile, Manitoba is exploring options for trapping feral hogs, and Alberta has a bounty program to help eradicate them.

“Time is of the essence, absolutely,” Brook said. “It can certainly go from a minor annoyance to [an] problem out of control incredibly quickly.

With archives from CTV News Vancouver Island

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