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Originally posted on National Post | News:
There is a new and invasive species menacing crops and cattle alike in Saskatchewan: Wild boar. Brought to the Prairies by gourmet food farmers, they are now running amok, eating everything from grain to small deer. Ryan Brook, an assistant professor in the college of Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan, has been using wildlife cameras to track the tusked pig, which were first introduced in the south but are now as far north as Prince Albert (and also in Manitoba and Alberta). He is trying to alert farmers and governments that the wild boar population has the potential to get a lot worse, and spoke to the Post’s Jen Gerson:
Q: What’s going on over there?
A: Well, the short answer is that we don’t really have a great handle on it, but it looks like wild boar, we know that they’re in the province of Saskatchewan and we know that they’re reproducing in the wild. We know that a number of people have concern about the impacts they’re having in terms of crop damage and harassment of cattle. When you look at what’s happened in the U.S. over the last two or three decades, the number of wild boar has absolutely exploded and the range of wild boar in the us has grown from a couple of states along each coast to now a majority of states in the U.S. have wild boar. It’s costing literally billions of dollars in terms of crop damage and disease impact.
Q: How did the problem start?
A: These boar are not native to North America. They were brought over for farming purposes, escaped from domestic operations, or, in a couple of cases, were purposely released into the wild to create hunting opportunities. The ones that were released into the wild, some thought they wouldn’t do well; what’s actually happened is that there has been an explosion and they’ve done quite, quite well.