Farmscape for September 18, 2014
A professor with the University of Saskatchewan warns unless steps are taken to control feral wild boar there's the potential for a massive population growth.
Wild boar were brought into Canada, primarily in the 1980s and 90s as an agricultural species but as the result of escapes and intentional releases the feral wild boar population has expanded.
The Saskatchewan Pork Development Board has identified addressing the destruction being caused by feral wild boar as a top priority.
Dr. Ryan Brook, a professor in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan, notes they have a tremendous capacity to reproduce producing about 6 per litter, usually 2 litters per year.
Clip-Dr. Ryan Brook-University of Saskatchewan:
They survive very well through a Saskatchewan or Manitoba or Alberta winter.
In terms of impact we know that they will harass livestock and push them away from feed and cause problems there, they will actually and can devour small livestock as well.
They have the potential to do a tremendous amount of crop damage especially because they're not only just a grazer but they'll feed on crops but they're a rooter so they get their nose in the ground and they dig up these areas so you might see five or ten acres that are completely destroyed in terms of on top but also been ripped up like a deep tiller just went through there.
They also can, we haven't seen this in Canada as of yet despite very limited testing, but there's no evidence yet of any disease in wild boar but their potential to be a reservoir for disease that affects humans and livestock, especially domestic pigs, is a real concern there as well.
Then finally native ecosystems.
They get into waterfowl habitat, into wetlands and they rip it up, they can cause a lot of damage to natural ecosystems as well.
Dr. Brook says once wild boar are well established, eradication becomes virtually impossible.
He notes Texas, which is about the same size as Saskatchewan, has 3 to 4,000,000 wild boar and they spend tens of millions of dollar per year on control.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council