Ottawa

Province seeks help sniffing out wild pigs

Ontarians are being urged to keep an eye out for wild pigs as the animals continue to wreak havoc across the province.

Destructive animals considered invasive species in Ontario

Ontario's Environment Ministry is asking people to report any and all wild pig sightings in an effort to control the destructive, invasive species. (Ryan Brook/University of Saskatchewan)

Ontarians are being urged to keep an eye out for wild pigs as the animals continue to wreak havoc across the province.

The omnivorous mammals are regarded as an invasive species in Ontario, and a nuisance for the mess they can leave behind. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry wants the public to report all sightings of the feral animals, and has even created a new email address to make that easier.

"We are asking anyone who spots a wild pig to let us know. Once wild pigs become established in a territory, they are almost impossible to eliminate," Erin Koen, a research scientist with the ministry, said in a news release Monday.

Members of the public from French River down to Lake Erie and east to the Ottawa Valley have already reported sightings of the pigs, Koen said.

Figuring out how many wild pigs are in the province, their behaviours and precisely where they're living will help inform conservation workers on the best ways to control their numbers, the province said. 

A single female wild pig can produce roughly 100 piglets in two years. (Ryan Brook/University of Saskatchewan)

Running rampant

Eurasian wild boars were first introduced to Canada for their meat in the 1980s, according to the province. Some escaped and have been causing damage, mainly in the Prairies, ever since.

The boars, along with domestic pigs that escape captivity and any pigs that result from those species mating, make up the wild pig population in Ontario.

The pigs are infamous for being a hardy, hungry bunch. 

"Wild pigs eat almost anything, can happily live in virtually any climate," the ministry said. "Their nocturnal lifestyle and elusive behaviour can make them very difficult to spot."

Destructive animals

Oftentimes, the most obvious sign is the damage they leave behind in crops and pasture land.

The province first asked for help spotting the animals in July. At the time, there had been more than two dozen sightings, including two in eastern Ontario, since last fall. 

A single female wild pig can give birth to 100 piglets in just two years, Koen told CBC Ottawa.

Members of the public can report sightings of pigs directly to the ministry by visiting the iNaturalist Ontario Wild Pig Reporting page or by using the new email address wildpigs@ontario.ca. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.