Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Wild pigs added to invasive species list

Wildlife officials in Ontario have added wild pigs to its list of 12 invasive species and are asking the public for help to curb them.

Provincial government officials have referred to them as an "ecological train wreck"  and said that "based on experiences from other jurisdictions, it is clear that the least costly and most effective approach for managing wild pigs is to act early." 

The province’s new regulations ban the release of pigs into the wild.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is drafting protocols in the event a pig escapes from a farm or transport truck so it can be notified immediately and the animal can be recaptured or dispatched as soon as possible.

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters has been asked to help hunters, trappers and outdoor enthusiasts to properly identify the animals and report their locations to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. 

"Once they become established, it's virtually unheard of to get rid of them. If they become widespread in a place like Ontario, there's virtually no chance of eradication," said Ryan Brook, a wild pig expert and an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan.

"We've missed that window in Saskatchewan. I think Ontario is in a good position to get on it. If I were grading this as a project, I would give them an A-plus for effort." 

Germany is being overrun by wild pigs and hog farmers are terrified that ones infected with African Swine Fever will spread the deadly virus to their herds. Germany built a fence along the border with Poland to try to stop them, but they’re now well established in parts of Germany.

A recent report said more than 1,000 of them have been infected with African Swine Fever; that has prompted a number of countries, including China, to ban pork from Germany.

In the Southern United States, such as Texas, it’s a sport to shoot them from helicopters.

But some have advised against hunting them because then they become more reclusive and more difficult to find and eliminate.