Who Had “Invasion of Canadian Super-Pigs” On Their 2023 Bingo Card?
At a time when many Americans are fixated on what's happening on our southern border, we might want to pay attention to the northern border with Canada as well. The reason: a new breed of "super-pigs", an unholy crossbreed of feral boar and domestic pig that can weigh well over 600 pounds. These super-swine are prolific across Canada, with predictions the pigs may soon migrate into the northern tier of the U.S.
In Saskatchewan these feral pigs have been spotted in 80 per cent of the province’s 296 rural municipalities. Ryan Brook leads the University of Saskatchewan’s Canadian Wild Pig Research Project. He is tracking the spread of these piggish mutants and trying to understand the implications for flora, fauna and people in their path. Brook believes the massive porkers may be the worst invasive large mammal on the planet, an "ecological train-wreck". The problem: they are highly intelligent, nocturnal and elusive, capable of hiding in heavily wooded areas and wetlands, while digging deep snow caves and surviving subzero Canadian winters.
The Canadian Wild Pig Research Project's Facebook page includes mapping of these super-pigs, which, in all probability, are already making their way southward into the U.S. What are the implications? “Crop damage is often the biggest economic impact. The U.S. loses 2.5 billion dollars per year just in crop damage alone due to wild pigs,” said Professor Brook, who noted the problem is an economic disaster in the making for Prairie producers, if left unchecked, according to the University of Saskatchewan.
These massive pigs can be aggressive, with razor-sharp tusks, so there is a danger to humans who encounter them in the woods. And they can carry diseases, some of which can pass from pigs to people.
My 92-year old father recalls being chased up trees by angry boars while growing up in northern Germany, and I wonder if we'll soon have super-pig sightings in the Northland. A boon for hunters? Brook’s wild pig-containment toolbox includes baiting, trapping, and the strategic removal of wild pigs using helicopters to capture them. Sport hunting is not part of a viable solution, according to Brook.
What should we be doing? Brook says "The most important thing we need is for all stakeholders to come together on this, recognize it is a problem, and deal with it before it is too late.”
What happens in Canada doesn't stay in Canada. We should probably pay attention.