Big, feral wild boars making a mess across B.C. | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Big, feral wild boars making a mess across B.C.

Wild boars have been spotted in areas throughout the province according to the Invasive Species Council of B.C.
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Small populations of feral pigs are scattered across the province, including in the Thompson-Okanagan region, but the pigs themselves are not small and they are causing significant damage.

These big pigs each weigh hundreds of pounds and can destroy the environment, wreck properties and transmit diseases, according to the Invasive Species Council of B.C. and that's why they're asking for help spotting them.

“We do not want to be like Saskatchewan which has the highest densities of feral pigs in the country,” Gail Wallin of the Invasive Species Council of B.C. said. “We need the public to be aware the pigs are out there and report sightings as early as possible so we can take action and take care of it before populations grow.”

The pigs cause habitat damage by foraging, rooting and trampling native flora and impacting water quality. They forage for invertebrates which also depletes the local ecosystem of vital decomposer populations. Feral pigs also compete with native wildlife for food.

Wallin said public education and awareness will help get new or previously unknown wild boar populations identified.

She said it is hard to know the exact numbers of the invasive species.

“You don’t start counting them until there are a lot of them there,” she said. “We have had reports of sightings coming in from around the province for the last 15 to 20 years.”

Wallin said they've been spotted in the Thompson-Okanagan region before although not recently.

They can be particularly damaging on farms as they trample crops and break things. Some farmers and property owners have to enhance security and fencing and take care of veterinary treatments and immunizations for damaged livestock, according to the council.

READ MORE: For such noisy animals, hundreds of elk in the Okanagan go virtually unnoticed

The pigs can also transmit parasites and diseases such as Hepatitis E to humans when humans drink water contaminated by pig feces or consume raw or undercooked meat.

Feral pigs have a high reproductive rate and can thrive in a wide range of habitats and elevations. They are dispersed by hunting activities that break up their groups, accidental escapes from farms or purposeful releases to a new region for big game hunting, which is illegal.

READ MORE: 4 pot-bellied pigs surrendered to SPCA in Vernon highlight 'mini-pig' misconception

Wallin said the public can help by reporting sightings and include a photo so the society can clearly identify the species.

Currently, hunting is the only control measure in place in British Columbia. Feral pigs are regulated as a “Schedule C” species in the Designations and Exemptions Regulation under the Wildlife Act in B.C. and allows feral pigs to be hunted in the province with a valid hunting license.

If you spot a wild pig, you can report it here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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