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Hybrid feral pigs may be in western Canada, organization warns residents

hybrid-feral-pigs-may-be-in-western-canada,-organization-warns-residents
Hybrid feral pigs may be in western Canada, organization warns residents

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A Canadian nonprofit is urging residents of the province of British Columbia to be on the lookout for invasive feral pigs, as fears rise that domestic pigs could have escaped their enclosures during recent wildfires. 

“Hogs Gone Wild – Potential for invasive feral pigs in the Shuswap following wildfires,” wrote the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society in a March 5, 2024, post on Facebook. 

The society is an organization dedicated “to educate and engage public, private landowners, land and aquatic managers, first nations and others about invasive species and their impacts.” 

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The Columbia Shuswap region is located in eastern British Columbia, along the border of Alberta. 

As of right now, British Columbia does not have established populations of feral pigs, said the group — but there are fears this may soon be changing. 

pig canada feral wild

British Columbia is at risk of having invasive feral pigs, a nonprofit organization announced on Tuesday, March 5.  (Canadian Wild Pig Research Project)

“Escaped pigs can establish wild populations and have negative environmental, economic and health impacts,” the group said. 

The spate of wildfires in the Shuswap region destroyed the fencing of pig farms, said the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society — “and likely allowed for pigs to escape captivity. The number of pigs still in the wild following this outbreak is unknown, which raises concern about the possibility of feral pig populations beginning.” 

Feral pigs include domesticated pigs, imported European wild boars and hybrids of the two, said the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society.

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While it may seem somewhat strange to read about invasive pig warnings, the threat posed by the species cannot be understated, an expert told Fox News Digital. 

In an email to Fox News Digital, Dr. Ryan Brook, an assistant professor in the department of animal and poultry science at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, said that “invasive wild pigs are a Canadian problem” and are likely to spread across the entirety of the country. 

feral hog pig scary canada

Feral pigs often have large litter sizes and no natural predators, so their populations can spiral out of control.  (iStock)

While there have been sightings of feral pigs in British Columbia, the province “so far has not had many occurrences anywhere and there is no strong evidence that there are established populations.” 

However, he continued, “the possibility of them showing up is very real.”

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“These are the worst invasive large mammal in North America by far,” he said. 

“Where they are established, they have massive negative consequence — and I call them an ‘ecological train wreck’ — they destroy water quality, eat almost anything, damage agricultural crops, and can spread diseases to humans, livestock, wildlife and pets.”

Damage to cow pasture

Feral pigs are incredibly destructive. Pictured above is a cattle pasture after a pack of wild pigs visited. (Courtesy Dr. Ryan Brook)

What’s more, these pigs “can also be a public health concern as they can be aggressive and they are large, travel in ‘sounder groups’ and have razor-sharp tusks.” 

Anyone who spots a wild pig should immediately report it to the appropriate authorities, so “a rapid and very aggressive response” can be started.  

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“Like a forest fire, there is only one chance to get it early and deal with it, or it gets out of hand and beyond control very quickly,” he said. 

Pigs are not native to Canada, Brook told Fox News Digital last year, meaning that they have no natural predators.

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“There are no native pigs in Canada,” said Brook. “Anything that sounds like a pig and oinks like a pig has been imported.” 

Fox News Digital reached out to the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society for additional information. 

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