CANADA - The Saskatchewan Pork Development Board is raising the alarm over the potential risks posed by expanding populations of feral wild boar, writes Bruce Cochrane.
To diversify agriculture, wild boar were imported into western Canada in the 1980s and as the result of escapes and on purpose releases their populations have been expanding in the wild.
A survey of Saskatchewan rural municipalities conducted during the winter of 2012-2013 showed feral wild boar were present in 110 of Saskatchewan's 296 rural municipalities.
Sask Pork chair Florian Possberg, says in areas where feral wild boar have become well established they're inflicting significant damage.
Florian Possberg-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board:
We do know that in eastern Europe right now the populations there have taken on some very significant diseases like African Swine fever and of course once these animals get those diseases within their wild populations it's really problematic.
Besides the issue of a disease reservoir the animals can be quite harmful to crops and because of their rooting habits can destroy and root up a lot of land.
We don know that for example around Kenosee and Moose Mountain Provincial Park they've had an impact on things like wild duck nests and bird populations and that sort of thing.
Mr Possberg notes wild boar are very secretive so they're not highly visible at this time but if we allow their populations to grow, they're going to become a significant issue.
He suggests the time to deal with them is before their populations are out of hand.
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