A masters student with the University of Saskatchewan says it's imperative to begin management of feral wild boar before their populations reach the point of no return.
"Feral Wild Boar a Potential Serious Threat to Domestic Pig Producers" was among the topics discussed yesterday in Saskatoon as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2014.
Ruth Kost, a masters student in the University of Saskatchewan's College of Agriculture, says we know they're present but we have no idea what our numbers are in Saskatchewan or in Canada.
Ruth Kost-University of Saskatchewan:
They came to western Canada in the 80s and 90s and it was part of the Ministry of Agriculture's attempt to diversify livestock so they brought in boar from Europe for agriculture purposes and then, as the industry started to decline, how we got the feral populations is a lot of releases occurred when the industry wasn't lucrative anymore as well as escapes from the pens.
Concerns stem from diseases.
Feral boar are host to over 30 viral and bacterial diseases and over 37 parasites.
Most of these can be transmitted not only to livestock but to wildlife and humans.
Feral boar are an important wildlife host of these disease where potentially we wouldn't have this disease present.
I can not say that we do have these diseases in Canada.
A lot of the diseases that we research are in the U.S. but we haven't done any research in Canada yet to determine if they're present in feral boar populations.
So this could cause a lot of economic loss to producers.
By Bruce Cochrane