Skim our FAQ to see why we are doing the work that we do.
Not finding what you want? Reach out directly through our Contact Us page.
Q: How did these wild pigs get out there?
A: Eurasian Wild Boar were brought to Canada in the late 1980s and through the 1990s to be raised inside a fence as livestock for meat production. Despite the many responsible wild boar ranches with high quality fences there has been and continues to be escapes and releases of these domestic animals to the wild across Canada. Over the last 30 years feral pig populations have become established in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. While there are few areas of high pig density, the potential to increase and cause great harm to wildlife, ecosystems, livestock, and humans is very significant.
Q: Where is the largest population of wild boar in Canada?
A: Saskatchewan is the province with the seemingly largest distribution of wild pigs, and likely the highest numbers. This is due to the landscape and low human density. Habitat offered includes river systems with multiple valleys and coulees, deciduous forest and shrubland, and numerous wetlands. Agriculture-dominated landscapes mean there is a lot of available, easily accessible, energy rich food sources with suitable cover nearby.
Q: Why don’t you post locations of wild boar so people can remove them?
A: We collect location data from people under a confidentiality agreement, and do not post exact locations. This is to protect the privacy of any landowners who might not want people flocking to their property to hunt wild boar! We also believe there are more effective solutions to dealing with the wild boar issue than having uncoordinated hunting efforts going after individual animals.
Q: Do wild boar really pose a significant risk?
A: The United States has had feral pigs for several hundred years, they are widespread and highly abundant, especially in the southern states such as Florida, Texas, and California. They are expanding rapidly and are now found in most U.S. states and the population is now estimated to be about 5 million animals. They cause massive ecological damage, widespread crop damage worth over $1 Billion/year, harass livestock, and harbor important diseases that put livestock and human health at risk. The U.S. is spending tens of millions of dollars each year as part of a national coordinated strategy to eradicate feral pigs in northern states and manage them in southern states where the populations are fully established and impossible to eradicate. Throughout all of the areas on earth where feral pigs are established they cause significant problems and are hard to eradicate.
Q: If there are so many wild boar, why haven’t I ever seen one?
A: Wild boar are mainly nocturnal animals, sleeping the day away in nests made of vegetation, where they can be quite hidden. They are also very intelligent and know how to avoid humans. Their elusiveness becomes even more pronounced once they feel pressure from hunting.
Q: Why don’t you just encourage hunters to shoot pigs?
A: There has been a lot of research and practical experience on how to best get feral pigs under control. What we know is that killing individual pigs does little to nothing to control feral pig populations and will never bring populations under control. Shooting individual animals can actually make the problem worse by breaking up sounder groups and spreading feral pigs around to new areas. What has been successful is identifying and counting sounder groups and killing ALL animals in that group — killing anything less than 100% means that attempt was a failure. This can be done with ground trapping of sounders or ground shooting entire sounders by experienced and trained hunt teams, often with aircraft support. That said there is no national (Canadian) feral pig management strategy and no provinces have identified specific goals or a provincial feral pig management strategy that we are aware of. Since feral pigs reproduce at such a high rate (capable of 12+ young/year) killing of a few animals has no population effect. Population reduction will require a highly aggressive, coordinated, and well monitored approach. Hunters can play an important role with this but only as part of coordinated hunt teams. Our research results will help inform better population control efforts and is essential for effective management.
Q: What is the project trying to accomplish?
A: This research project is being conducted by the University of Saskatchewan. The project director is Dr. Ryan Brook. Ryan Powers is a graduate student that is leading the collaring work and will be working with Dr. Brook on analysis and reporting of study results. Ruth Kost is a graduate student leading the collecting of observations, trail camera images, and other data to develop a map of Canada with Dr. Brook showing the current distribution of feral pigs. Prior to this current study there has been essentially no scientific research on feral pigs in Canada to understand their distribution and ecology. What we know from research in the U.S. is important, but obviously Canada is different and requires local research so we can understand the habitat selection, home range, movements, and dispersal patterns of feral pigs to support management decisions. Our job as researchers is to conduct defensible studies and share these results with the general public, hunters, farmers, First Nations, and governments. We have no authority to make management decisions. Without research and monitoring, management efforts are doomed to fail.
Q: Who is paying for this research?
A: Our project is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, the University of Saskatchewan, and the Saskatchewan Fish and Wildlife Development Fund. We also receive in-kind support from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Parks Culture and Sport.