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Wild pig. Photo: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Wild pigs still roaming

There are times when things are still hog wild in local forests and fields.

Wild pigs are still occasionally seen around the area.  They are an invasive species.  According to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNRF) and Forestry, any pig is considered wild if it is living outside the confines of a farm fence or barn.  They include domestic pigs that have become wild or “feral” and their ownership cannot be determined, Eurasian wild boars, or hybrids of domestic pigs and Eurasian wild boars.

Eurasian wild boar is a European species that is imported to Canada and raised on farms for meat.  However, they do escape, and often breed with escaped domestic pigs.

Wild pigs pose several risks to the environment and agriculture.  They damage crops and pasture lands, spread disease to livestock, pets, and even humans, and the cost of controlling them is high if they become established in a particular area.

They are also smart swine.  According to the MNRF, if wild pigs know they are threatened by humans, they will change their behaviour and act more elusive.  They will spend the daylight hours in areas with more dense vegetation and come out at night.  Wild pigs have been common in Voyageur Provincial Park for several years and are occasionally spotted by visitors or tracks are found in campsites.

We asked readers of The Review if they have had any encounters with wild pigs.  David Chamberlain said he saw four cross Highway 417 near Casselman three weeks ago.  One commenter said that the MNRF tells hunters to kill every wild pig they see.  However, the MNRF recommends against hunting because research and experience in other jurisdictions has shown that aggressive hunting is not effective.  However, landowners do have the right to protect their property from wildlife damage, but if they decide to shoot a wild pig, they need to make sure it is wild, does not belong to anyone else, and are following all relevant land use and firearms laws.

Wild pigs can be distinguished by a long snout, coarse hair and can weigh anywhere from 30 to 420 pounds.  Sometimes they have tusks.  Adults can be black, brown, red, grey, or white in colour and piglets are sometimes striped or spotted.

Wild pig sightings in Ontario can be reported to [email protected] or https://inaturalist.ca/projects/ontario-wild-pig-reporting?tab=observations .

 

James Morgan

James Morgan is a freelance contributor. He has worked for several print and broadcast media outlets. James loves the history, natural beauty, and people of eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

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