“Wild Pigs” is a catch-all term that refers to escaped wild boar, feral domestic pigs, and their hybrids. Native to Eurasia, these animals were first introduced to Canada in the 1980s as exotic livestock for meat. Resulting from farm escapes and intentional releases, wild pigs have already caused widespread problems in Canada’s prairie provinces and many American states.
Wild pigs have been reported across central, southern, and eastern Ontario. It appears that they are, for the most part, in small and very localized groups.
Impacts of Wild Pigs
Wild pigs (wild boar, feral domestic pigs, hybrids) are non-native to North America resulting from farm escapes and intentional releases. They are major a problem because:
- They reproduce very quickly (sexually mature at 6 months and can have two litters per year with 4-10 piglets each time)
- They can destroy native ecosystems (damage plant communities and invite invasive species, compete with native wildlife for food and habitat, decrease biodiversity)
- They are expensive to control (in the US, they have cost an estimated 1 billion annually to the agricultural industry through crop damage, livestock predation and damage to equipment)
- They can spread disease (brucellosis, trichinosis, hepatitis, African Swine Fever)
How to Identify Wild Pigs
The term “wild pig” refers to any pig “outside of a fence” and includes:
- domestic pigs that have become wild (or ‘feral’) and ownership cannot be determined
- Eurasian wild boar; and
- hybrids of domestic pigs and Eurasian wild boar
Wild pigs can exhibit many colour variations, ranging from very dark to light, and may have spots. Escaped domestic pigs can grow a dense undercoat to help them to survive cold winter climates.
What You Can Do
- If you believe you have seen a wild pig or signs of wild pig:
- Note the date, and time of the sighting;
- Note the location;
- Take pictures or a video, if possible;
- Note the number of pigs and whether piglets are present;
- Identify whether this was an isolated sighting or whether the same individual has been seen multiple times; and
- REPORT the sighting to the iNaturalist web page (note: you will be required to set up a free online account), or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- For more information, visit ofah.org/issues/wild-pigs-in-ontario/
OFAH/OMNRF Invading Species Awareness Program. (2022). Wild Pigs. Retrieved from: www.invadingspecies.com.
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Header photo by benmacaskill, flickr.com