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Canadian scientist says control of wild pigs must be national effort

A scientist with the University of Saskatchewan says controlling wild pigs in Canada will require nationally coordinated aggressive and immediate action.

4 October 2019, at 10:11am

The ongoing spread of African swine fever in Africa, Asia and Europe has drawn attention to the potential for wild boar and wild pig populations in North America to harbour and infect commercial pig populations with disease.

wild boar with piglets

Dr Ryan Brook, an Associate Professor in the Department of Agriculture and Bioresources with the University of Saskatchewan, says, although the problem has been emerging across Canada since the mid-1980s, very little has been done about it.

"There is no national strategy or plan and so each province has their own perspective on things," Dr Brook explained in an interview with Farmscape.

"Alberta has a programme where they are trapping animals and removing them and they have a plan, which is good so certainly Alberta is at the forefront in being proactive.

"Saskatchewan has a programme through the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Program so, if you have issues and complain SCIC, they will send out teams to either ground trap, shoot or snare wild pigs.

"They've been doing some of that and that's been I think a good model for sure.

"Manitoba, to my knowledge, is not doing anything and to my knowledge none of the other provinces are taking any action in terms of removing pigs.

"So efforts have been pretty hap hazard amongst the provinces and pretty limited in scope and scale and certainly without plans and strategies and really aggressive broad scale efforts there is no chance of eradication.

"The big gap being the overall and fundamental lack of leadership from any organisations that I'm aware of in taking this on as a real recognised emerging crisis.

"Without leadership I don't think we're going to get too far any time soon."

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Dr Brook says any hope of eradication or even trying to stop the current spread will require major aggressive and immediate action.