Canada’s feral pigs risk ‘absolute destruction’ if left unchecked | Canada

The Canadian city of Edmonton may soon be in the grip of a problem it can’t get away with on the barbecue.

Feral pigs have spread across the prairies of central Alberta and, if left unchecked, could soon find their way to the Edmonton River Valley. According to Ryan Brook, a University of Saskatchewan professor who studies pigs, the creatures are an “ecological shipwreck” and would cause “absolute destruction” if they made their way to the river valley, which is abundant in water and cover. forest.

“They destroy the forest floor, native grasslands are destroyed, wetlands, water systems. They feed on anything they can and will kill any pets for sure,” Brook told the Edmonton Journal.

“Wild pigs are the worst invasive wild mammals on the planet – I don’t think there’s any debate about that.”

As omnivores, pigs will eat just about anything, including squirrels, birds, eggs, roadkill, live deer, and pets. Weighing up to 100 kg, the pigs endure sweltering winters by building ‘pigloos’, or burrows which they fill with cattails.

“They wallow in wetlands and tear them up to make their nests… They contaminate water with mud and pathogens, they destroy crops, they pose a danger to public safety and they can transmit disease to people. humans, pets, livestock and wildlife,” Brook said.

Pigs can seriously compromise the livelihoods of native wildlife. In addition to competing with native species such as deer and wild turkeys, pigs often beat coyotes at the scene of a kill.

They can also carry 89 diseases including African swine fever. Another disease, foot-and-mouth disease, has been estimated by the Alberta Invasive Species Council to cost more than $51 billion in domestic exports if it spreads to meat products and causes an outbreak.

Additionally, feral pigs have been linked to the decline of 22 plant species and four amphibian species.

Last May, the Alberta Invasive Species Council launched the Squeal on Pigs campaign in an attempt to control the spread of pigs. Campaign urges residents to report wild pig sightings to authorities so they ‘can make plans to weed out whole pollsters [a group of wild pigs] immediately”.

The campaign comes after researchers discovered that hunting individual pigs only made the problem worse because it gave other pigs a chance to change their ways.

Despite the provincial government’s campaign, Edmonton officials have no plan to deal with the hogs should they begin to invade the city, according to city spokeswoman Chrystal Coleman.

“You can ignore wild pigs all you want until you can’t ignore them anymore. Then they come to your doorstep and literally show up in your house and come into the cities,” he said. “You can’t get involved in the eradication of feral pigs. Either go all out, go hard and take them out, but you need a strategy,” Brook warned.

According to Mike Bodenchuk, a biologist at the United States Department of Agriculture, pigs are able to adapt to urban environments. They were found sleeping under car blinds, knocking over headstones in city cemeteries and eating pet food.

The pigs also rummage through trash which exposes the trash and in turn attracts birds, creating problems for nearby airports and seaports.

“It’s hard to imagine you can damage the waste, but you can…if we don’t cover it deep enough the pigs will dig it up and eat it and it will open up to the birds that come in,” said Bodenchuk at the Edmonton Journal.

“You can’t get away from this barbecue problem,” he said. added.

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