Often when we consider invasive species, we immediately think of invasive weeds, such as purple loosestrife or common tansy, or invasive species that we have heard about in the media, such as zebra mussels being found in Lake Winnipeg. Invasive species can also include invasive animals, and feral wild boar fall into this category.
Originally from Siberia, wild boar were first introduced to Saskatchewan as part of an agriculture diversification initiative. Some of these animals began escaping from their pens on farms where they were being raised domestically, and have thrived in the wild. Highly adaptable and hardy, feral wild boar have become established throughout our watershed area. They have very few natural predators, are extremely intelligent, and have the ability to carry up to 30 diseases that can harm humans and livestock including E.coli, bovine tuberculosis and foot and mouth disease. They are able to reproduce rapidly, and a sow can have two litters per year with an average of 6 to 8 piglets in a single litter. Wild boar are omnivores, which means that they eat both plants and animals, and they will eat virtually anything including crops, roots, tubers, worms, insects, bird eggs, snakes, lizards, mice and even deer. They will dig into the ground, rooting for food, and can cause extensive damage to crops, riparian areas and pastures. They have razor sharp tusks that self-sharpen each time the animal opens and closes its jaws. They have a thick, hairy coat and longer legs than domestic pigs to help them travel through snow. An adult male can weigh up to 300 pounds.
Wild boar have few natural predators, are difficult to hunt, and reproduce rapidly making their population extremely difficult to control. They are currently classified as “dangerous stray animals” in Saskatchewan; as such, hunters are requires to obtain permission from landowners and Rural Municipalities to hunt wild boar. Any questions about hunting feral wild boar should be addressed to Conservation Officers at your local Ministry of Environment office. Saskatchewan landowners can access support from Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) through the Feral Wild Boar Control Program. This program operates as a part of the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program. When a wild boar sighting occurs, the individual should contact their local Crop Insurance office as soon as possible. SCIC will review the information provided and determine a response. When a hunt is conducted, SCIC has teams established who follow a response protocol to act on the information gathered. SCIC will also compensate producers for any crop or livestock damage caused by wild boar.
If you have evidence of feral wild boar in your area, contact your local Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation office as soon as possible. More information about the Feral Wild Boar Control Program can be found at http://www.saskcropinsurance.com/wildlife/feral-wild-boar-control-program.