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Columbia Shuswap residents urged to squeal on feral pigs

Invasive species society warns against hunting the pigs
Wild boar and feral pigs can do major damage to crops and property. (File Photo)

Columbia Shuswap residents have been asked to be on the lookout for feral pigs.

The Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS) issued a media release cautioning people about feral pigs, explaining how amidst the chaos of last summer’s wildfire season, some domesticated pigs escaped into the wild. The animals have since reproduced with wild boars to create a “hybrid offspring of the two.”

CSISS said the feral pigs have varied appearances, and can be “light reddish brown to white to black” in colour and have dark, coarse hair. The organization noted it doesn’t know the number of pigs in the wild, and that this raises concerns for the possibility of the beginning of a feral pig population.

“Established populations of feral pigs are not present in B.C., but are known in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba,” said CSISS.

Feral pigs can impact the environment in a variety of ways, predominantly by out-competing native species, which leads to a reduction in biodiversity.

CSISS said the pigs’ “disruptive rooting” and “wallowing” increase erosion in aquatic environments. CSISS also cautioned that the pigs can affect the economy through the loss of crops and infrastructure. Feral pigs can also transmit disease to livestock, humans, and wildlife.

Although the pigs are considered an invasive species, CSISS specified not to hunt them as it could teach the animals to avoid human contact and spread out. Further management could include more fencing and vaccination of farm animals to prevent the spread of disease. If spotted, CSISS said to report the invasive species on the website or mobile app.

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