Organization warns residents to be on the lookout for hybrid feral pigs in western Canada

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A Canadian non-profit organization is calling on British Columbia residents to be on the lookout for invasive feral pigs, as fears grow that domestic pigs could have escaped from their enclosures during recent wildfires.

“Hogs Gone Wild – Potential for Invasive Feral Pigs in the Shuswap After Wildfires,” the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society wrote in a March 5, 2024 post on Facebook.

The association is an organization committed “to informing and engaging public, private landowners, land and water 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 with Alberta.

Currently, British Columbia has no feral pig populations, the group says, but there are fears that could soon change.

British Columbia is at risk of invasive feral pigs, a non-profit organization announced Tuesday, March 5. (Canadian feral pig research project)

“Escaped pigs can establish feral populations and have negative impacts on the environment, economy and health,” the group said.

The wave of wildfires in the Shuswap region has destroyed hog farm fencing, according to the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society — “and likely allowed pigs to escape from captivity. The number of pigs left in the wild after this outbreak is unknown, raising concerns. about the possibility that feral pig populations will emerge.”

Feral pigs include domestic pigs, imported European wild boars and hybrids of the two, according to the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society.

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While it may seem strange to read about warnings about invasive pigs, the threat posed by the species cannot be underestimated, 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 sciences at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, that “invasive feral pigs are a Canadian problem” and are likely to spread around the world. whole of the country.

wild boar pig scary canada

Feral pigs often have large litter sizes and no natural predators, which can cause their populations to get out of control. (iStock)

Although feral pigs have been sighted in British Columbia, the province “has not had many occurrences anywhere to date and there is no strong evidence that there are established populations.”

But he continued: “The possibility of them showing up is very real.”

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

“Where they are established, they have enormous negative impacts – and I call them an ‘ecological train wreck’ – they destroy water quality, eat almost everything, damage agricultural crops and can spread disease to people, livestock, wildlife and pets.”

Damage to cow pasture

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

In addition, these pigs “may also pose a public health problem because they can be aggressive, are large, travel in ‘sounder groups’ and have razor-sharp tusks.”

Anyone who sees a wild pig must immediately report it to the relevant authorities so that “a rapid and very aggressive response” can be initiated.

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“Just like a forest fire, there is only one chance to detect and tackle it early, otherwise the fire can quickly get out of control and out of control,” he said.

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

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

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

For more lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

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