“We should expect some really significant issues if we can’t turn this around.”
By Kate Ayers
A recent rise in wild boar sightings in Saskatchewan has sparked investigation into controlling the population of this nuisance.
A Saskatchewan researcher is tracking the number of these pigs, so the province can implement control measures, according to a CBC News article today.
“In the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, they were brought over from Europe and Asia and raised for meat,” Ryan Brook, a University of Saskatchewan professor, said to CBC.
“What happened is a lot of animals escaped, and many producers went out of business and just cut their fence and let them go. They’ve really taken off in the wild.”
Brook has assembled a map depicting boar sightings in municipalities across Saskatchewan but it’s hard to determine exact numbers, he said. Boar populations are expanding quickly in the province, given their high reproductive rate.
Fortunately, farmers can play a role in solving the boar population issue.
Producers can manage boar infestations through on-farm risk assessments and management practices, Brook adds. Producers can make small changes to where and when they feed their livestock, for example. In addition, fencing is a relatively cheap but highly effective way to keep wild pigs away from stored feed.
Protecting feedstock and preventing boar contact with livestock is also important because boars can be very aggressive, he explained to Farms.com today.
An open hunting season is not a viable solution for population control, according to Brook.
“If you leave some (boars) and wait a year, then you’ve got as many or more as you had previously. We just don’t see any success at all until we actually start to remove those entire groups,” Brook said to CBC.
“Anything else we consider a total failure in our program.”
Current approaches to depopulation involve drones and “Judas” pigs.
“Drones are the one (approach) we are going to try this winter to see if we can use infrared cameras at night to identify, find and count wild pigs,” Brook said to Farms.com.
“The other thing we use is what we call a ‘Judas’ pig, where you put a collar on an animal and let it go. The very best thing you can do to find other wild pigs is use a wild pig. That’s by far has been the most successful approach that we’ve used for locating animals.”
Unless the province can reduce wild boar numbers, significant issues could arise due to their ability to live anywhere in Saskatchewan, he insisted.
If you see wild boars, contact Saskatchewan Crop Insurance or University of Saskatchewan, Brook advised.
“The main thing is … reporting any sightings to government right away and not waiting. That’s really important. Chances are very good that if you see one at any time, it’s almost sure there are more out there,” Brook said to Farms.com.
Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/wild-boar-pig-wild-mammal-forest-2898673/