Canadian researchers from the University of Saskatchewan have recently published a study outlining Canada's most 'prolific' invasive mammal. Yet, it's not a mammal that you may immediately think would be invasive and harmful to our country. Surprisingly, these researchers have reported that wild pigs have become one of Canada's most invasive species.
In the study, researchers Ruth Aschim and Ryan Brook state that wild pigs first became present in Canada after boars were imported from Europe in the 1980s as livestock for hunters. However, during this time many of these boars actually escaped their pens and started to breed with pigs. These wild pigs are now wandering and breeding throughout the nation.
While a majority of these wild pigs can be found in the Prairies the animals are also present throughout Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. Aschim states that many Canadians aren't even aware that these pigs are wandering around because they are nocturnal and are often difficult to spot.
Despite not being able to see these pigs, the invasive species is causing harm to the country. Researchers state that these wild pigs are causing an 'ecological disaster'. Some of the main concerns that researchers point out are that these pigs cause crop damage, disease transmission, and even car accidents.
Researchers also state that these wild pigs are causing 'significant risk' to agriculture and livestock production. The pigs are hosts to 89 different diseases that can be transferred to livestock and even humans.
As these wild pigs are causing disease and destruction across the majority of the country, researchers also stress that they are hard to eradicate. With their ability to adapt, this species has been constantly growing since the 1990s.
Researchers now estimate that these pigs are currently ranging over more than 750,000 square kilometers, this is an area that is larger than Chile. Plus, this area is expected to grow as the population continues to expand.
Through this research, Aschim states that new plans to stop the spread of this species need to be implemented soon before they continue to cause more damage across the nation.
However, as researchers have previously stated, with their ability to eat almost anything and weighing up to 250 pounds, this task is going to be difficult to accomplish. It looks like that invasive wild pigs are here to stay.