Wednesday 22 May 2019

Wild pigs invade Canadian provinces—an emerging crisis for agriculture and the environment

MAY 13, 2019

Wild pigs—a mix of wild boar and domestic swine—are spreading rapidly across Canada, threatening native species such as nesting birds, deer, agricultural crops, and farm livestock, research by the University of Saskatchewan (USask) shows.
The first-ever published survey of the wild pig distribution in Canada has found a rapid expansion in the invasive species' range, which is increasing by nine per cent a year.
"Wild pigs are ecological train wrecks. They are prolific breeders making them an extremely successful invasive species," said Ruth Aschim, a Ph.D. student who led the research published today in Nature Scientific Reports. "Wild pigs can cause soil erosion, degrade water quality, destroy crops, and prey on small mammals, amphibians and birds."
Wild boar were brought from Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s to diversify Canadian livestock production. Others were imported as 'penned game' for shooting.
The hybrid wild pigs have rapidly multiplied and spread, making them the most prolific invasive mammal in Canada.
By 2017, they had spread exponentially across Canada, from British Columbia to Ontario and Quebec, with the majority in the south-central half of Saskatchewan. Their territory has increased by 88,000 square kilometres per year, on average, over the last decade.

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