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‘Incredibly intelligent, highly elusive’: US faces new threat from Canadian ‘super pig’

For decades, wild pigs have been antagonizing flora and fauna in the US: gobbling up crops, spreading disease and even killing deer and elk.

Now, as fears over the potential of the pig impact in the US grow, North America is also facing a new swine-related threat, as a Canadian “super pig”, a giant, “incredibly intelligent, highly elusive” beast capable of surviving cold climates by tunneling under snow, is poised to infiltrate the north of the country.

The emergence of the so-called super pig, a result of cross-breeding domestic pigs with wild boars, only adds to the problems the US faces from the swine invasion.

Pigs are not native to the US, but have wrought havoc in recent decades: the government estimates the country’s approximately 6 million wild, or feral, pigs cause $1.5bn of damage each year.

In parts of the country, the pigs’ prevalence has sparked a whole hog hunting industry, where people pay thousands of dollars to mow down boar and sow with machine guns. But overall, the impact of the pigs, first introduced to the US in the 16th century, has very much been a negative, as the undiscerning swine has chomped its way across the country.

“We see direct competition for our native species for food,” said Michael Marlow, assistant program manager for the Department of Agriculture’s national feral swine damage management program.

“However, pigs are also accomplished predators. They’ll opportunistically come upon a hidden animal, and the males have long tusks, so they’re very capable of running and grabbing one with their mouth.

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