The Alberta Invasive Species Council has partnered with a number of municipalities, Alberta Beef and Alberta Pork to bring the “Squeal on Pigs” program to our province. Wild Boar have become an increasingly invasive and destructive issue in much of the US where ongoing research into control and elimination methods far advance what is being done in Canada to date. Since 1995, wild boar populations outside of farms have continued to grow and expand across Canada.
The Squeal on Pigs campaign was largely a media campaign aimed at building awareness in the rural and urban communities about the threat posed by wild populations of Wild Boar to our farms, food security, public safety and ecosystems. The messages are clear. The Boar are here, they are a threat and hunting does not work. “These hunting efforts were later deemed ineffective and may have even exacerbated the issue. Wild boar are incredibly smart and when only a few individuals are hunted from a larger group (called a sounder), the remaining boar quickly learn to evade future hunting efforts by dispersing, changing movement patterns, and becoming nocturnal. They pass these tricks on to following generations. The only way to effectively eliminate wild boar at large in an area is by eradicating the entire sounder simultaneously.” Alberta Squeal on Pigs
To assist in the efforts to trap and eradicate entire sounders, Alberta Pork and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry have established a Wild Boar at Large Eradication Project. Boar sightings that are reported through the EDDMapS Alberta app, through email to AF.email@example.com, through a call to 310-FARM or local municipality are forwarded to the Wild Boar at Large Eradication Team who then work with stakeholders to develop a plan to locate and eradicate the entire sounder. The Team has the knowledge to set up sounder traps that are monitored and triggered remotely. Because this program relies on the public to report sightings, awareness of the issue has been the greatest barrier to success. The Squeal on Pigs campaign is reducing this barrier.
There was discussion on the December 13, 2021 virtual Town Hall with the ADM around the wild boar issues issues and the possibility of moving to an eradication program. There are currently 13 wild boar farms in the province that are annually inspected and regulated and the province continues to be supportive of their operations. The province ran a bounty program but it has had little effect at controlling or eliminating feral wild boar and it ended in the spring of 2020.
More information on the Wild Boar issue and Canadian efforts can be found at the links below: