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Feral Pigs: Fighting One of Canada’s Worst Invasive Species

By on July 10, 2022 0

By Melanie Nagy and Michael Lee

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Vancouver/Toronto (TVC network) — With no signs of slowing down, feral pigs are considered by some to be one of the most destructive invasive species in Canada. While the Prairies have been hardest hit, other provinces are feeling the effects of the troublesome animal. A golf course on Vancouver Island learned of this recently 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 ones nursing and they kept wandering around and making a mess with their trash and then when the golfers come in they kind of go away,” Norm Jackson said. , head professional at Cowichan Golf Club in Duncan, British Columbia, near Victoria. The pigs have been a nuisance for months and are believed to have escaped from a neighboring property. Even then, Jackson says it’s been an ongoing problem for years. Staff continually repair damaged areas on the course, he says, which could prove costly in the long run. However, the concern of the club is not only to ensure the safety of the customers, but also that the animals are taken care of. “If anyone has any suggestions, we’d definitely be happy to hear them,” Jackson said. The “huge shopping list” of wild pig hazards isn’t limited to Canada, says Ryan Brook, associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Agriculture and Bioresources. “They are incredibly adaptive. They are, in my opinion, and I think many would 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 range of environments, Brook says. They are also rooters, meaning they use their noses to dig into the ground to search for food like insect larvae, leaving a “terrible mess” in their wake. Because they don’t have sweat glands, Brook says they’ll wallow in mud to cool off, which can spread parasites and disease through the water. “As soon as he’s outside the fence, it doesn’t matter what it is specifically or what breed or what type, it doesn’t matter to me, he’s a wild pig and that is 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 to report feral pigs, which Brook says is the preferred option as opposed to a “cobbler” approach. In most cases, people trying to get rid of feral pigs end up pushing them elsewhere, creating subgroups that spread in multiple directions or scaring the animals enough to become nocturnal. Meanwhile, Manitoba is exploring options for trapping feral pigs and Alberta has a bounty program to help eradicate them. “Time is running out, absolutely,” Brook said. “Granted, it can range from a minor annoyance to [an] problem out of control incredibly fast. With files from CTV News Vancouver Island

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Tom Yun