British Columbia

Pigs go wild in Christina Lake, B.C.

Between 25 and 35 pigs are running hog wild around Christina Lake, B.C., rooting through gardens and scaring locals.

In tiny Christina Lake, near Grand Forks, locals are dealing with a new kind of wildlife.

In this photo, wild pigs pass by the Creno lake in the French island of Corsica in 2009. Christina Lake, B.C. is dealing with wild pigs in 2011, after more than two dozen escaped from a farm. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)

A tourist community in southeastern B.C. has again been invaded by pigs.

About four years ago, a group of European pigs broke free from a farm in Christina Lake, which is near Grand Forks on Highway 3. Most of the escaped pigs were captured or were thought to have died.

But two weeks ago, the pigs did it again.

Dave Webster, a B.C. conservation officer, said that between 25 and 35 pigs are running hog-wild around Christina Lake. They’re rooting through gardens and scaring locals — the boars can grow tusks and be particularly mean.

"Some of the male pigs can be a bit aggressive, so we would caution people to be careful if they do have these things coming into their neighbourhoods," Webster said. "They should report them immediately."

Grace McGregor, the director for the unincorporated area around Christina Lake, has been taking "all sorts" of calls from concerned residents. McGregor is hearing that many locals are worried that the pigs, which are not indigenous, could establish a permanent feral population.

"Any time people say they’ve seen them it’s not just one," she said.

"What my concern is, is that they’ll be procreating, and they don’t usually have just one little piggy. I’m sure they have several."

Some locals have been shooting the pigs. News of their prevalence has even made it to a B.C. hunting chat room, where some participants have advised others that it is illegal to hunt the pigs as long as they are considered to be "domestic animals."

If the pigs are not recaptured, they might face competition for food from some local bears, which grew accustomed to receiving handouts from Christina Lake residents last year but have since been cut off.

With files from the CBC’s Bob Keating, in Nelson