Ontario’s wild pig in the crosshairs

The network was started last year by wildlife officers from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Forestry and Northern Development (MNNFND) and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters [OFAH, Fédération des pêcheurs et chasseurs de l’Ontario, traduction libre]. This network has used dozens of surveillance cameras, volunteers and a hotline to prevent feral pigs from moving into the province.

The network didn’t find any feral pigs last summer.

However, this summer, officials intend to remain vigilant. This time they want to focus on Northern Ontario. Wildlife agencies are curious if any feral pigs roam the vast expanses of the province’s north.

Last year, volunteers with Ontario’s wild pig monitoring program managed to take tens of thousands of images in Lanark County, just west of Ottawa, and in Parry Sound. Both areas have been identified as where feral pigs are most likely to be found.

Lots of wild animals

Brook Schryer, who works for the Invasive Species Awareness Program of theOFAHsaid that while the surveillance cameras brought back stunning images of nature, there was no sign of feral pigs.

There were great wildlife photos with moose, deer, turkeys, mink and black bears, all things we want to see on camera, but no wild pigs.

A moose in the wild.

A moose captured by one of 50 digital trail camera kits deployed by volunteers through the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters last summer.

Photo: courtesy of OFAH

Feral pigs are considered a destructive invasive species in North America. They have already infiltrated the southern United States and the Canadian prairies, where they have plundered fields, hunted native species and even attacked humans, in very rare cases.

These animals pose a serious threat to our agriculture and native species said Mr. Schryer, adding that theOFAH is working proactively with the province to help it strengthen its surveillance program to eliminate feral hogs before they gain a foothold in the province, a strategy that experts say is cheaper and easier than to deal with an invasion afterwards.

They are intelligent, they have relatively large litters, they reach sexual maturity early and if left unchecked will become a huge problem on the Ontario landscape.

Early detection

So far, there is little evidence that these animals have become established in the province. All groups of hogs reported by the public were quickly stopped by provincial wildlife officers. For example, last winter near Pickering, more than a dozen feral hogs were spotted.

So far this year, the ministry said there have been 16 sightings of these animals, mostly in southern Ontario, with a few reports in central Ontario, but no was not always acting from the breed considered invasive.

Schryer said after the success of the pilot project last spring, Ontario’s feral hog monitoring program will continue to monitor the wild in hopes of spotting an invasion before it’s too late.

The most important currency to prevent the establishment of an invasive species is early detection and rapid responsesaid Mr. Schryer.

These cameras all act as early detection.


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