Feral Boars - A Potential Threat to Pork Producers
If you are concerned about the wild boar in your area, assistance may be available under the Wild Boar Control Program administered by the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM). SARM has allocated $50,000 toward eradication of boar populations in the province. You can contact your RM and they will contact SARM on your behalf. SARM reports only a few requests for assistance this year, RM of Pleasantdale No. 398 and Moose Mountain area the RM of Tecumseh No. 65 (the latter due to large number of farmed boar escapees).
Feral boar is an area that Dr. Ryan Brook of the University of Saskatchewan Animal and Poultry Science department has dedicated a great deal of time to. In July 2013, the first peer-reviewed paper on Feral Wild Boar Distribution and Perceptions of Risk on the Central Canadian Prairies, written by Dr. Brook and Floris M. Van Beest of the University of Saskatchewan, was published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin; DOI 10.1002/wsb.424.
Dr. Brook presented the findings of this study to Sask Pork’s Board of Directors in April 2014, emphasizing the take home message is that “despite a somewhat coarse scale approach based on limited data, it's clear that feral boar are widespread in rural Saskatchewan and there is ample habitat for further expansion.” “It is our opinion in the paper, that given this distribution combined with limited overall regional effort at control (provincial and national), the window for feral wild boar eradication in Saskatchewan is most likely now been missed and we are in an era of endemic feral wild boar.”
He recently attended the feral pig conference in Alabama. The U.S. has given a number code to each state, scaled from 5 (having endemic and abundant feral boar) to 0 (having none) and Saskatchewan is most likely a 4 on that scale based on their criteria. The US has also announced funding of $20 million dollars over 27 years to address the need for feral boar control. There is much interest in what is happening in Canada.
Dr. Brook indicates they are currently working on two more associated papers-one on diurnal activity patterns in feral boar using trail camera data and another on spatial overlap of feral wild boar and domestic pigs in Saskatchewan and hope to have them published this year.
This topic was also covered at the 2014 Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium. Feral Boar - A Potential Threat to Pork Producers was presented by Ruth Kost, Graduate Student working with Dr. Brook.
Information provided by:
Ryan K. Brook, PhD
Indigenous Land Management Institute &
Department of Animal and Poultry Science
College of Agriculture and Bioresources
University of Saskatchewan
51 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5A8