Wild boar (Sus scrofa) are native to Eurasia and were brought over to the United States by Spanish explorers as livestock in the 1500’s. They were unknown in Canada until the 1980’s and 1990’s when an agricultural diversification initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture introduced them in wild boar farms. The original breeding stock for Canada originated in Great Britain, Poland, Germany and Sweden. Being strong and intelligent creatures, escapes are not uncommon, and it is speculated that intentional releases and illegal translocations are also made. These adaptable animals survive and reproduce just fine in the cold prairie winters, allowing the establishment of feral populations.
Although there is no formal monitoring of feral wild boar on the Canadian prairies, media reports starting in the 2000s attest that there are significant numbers of feral boar in parts of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta. The last national census put the number of wild boar farms at 150 operations, with 9,788 animals. There are no reliable estimates of the number of individual feral wild boar in Canada, but recent research estimates the population in the United States to be 6,000,000 and rapidly expanding.
Barrios-Garcia, M. N, and Ballari, S. A. 2012. Impact of wild boar (Sus scrofa) in its introduced and native range: a review. Biol Invasions. 14: 2283 – 2300.
Oliver, W. and Leus, K. 2008. Sus scrofa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T41775A10559847. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T41775A10559847.en
Statistics Canada. 2011. 2011 census of agriculture. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/ca-ra2011/index-eng.htm
US Department of Agriculture. 2016. History of Feral Swine in the Americas. https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/wildlifedamage/operational-activities/feral-swine/feral-swine-history
US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. 2005. Feral/wild pigs: potential problems for farmers and hunters. Agriculture Information Bulletin. No. 799. Available at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5313597.pdf
Wilkins, W., and S. Dobbs. 2013. Have you seen feral wild boar? http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/agv1212-pg11