A new Manitoba Pork initiative is encouraging the public to assist in the task of identifying populations of wild pigs.
Manitoba Pork, in partnership with the federal and provincial governments, has launched its Squeal on Pigs campaign, an initiative designed to build public awareness of the damage done and risks posed by wild pigs and encourage the public to report sightings or evidence of wild pigs.
Dr. Wayne Lees, the Coordinator of the Manitoba Invasive Swine Eradication Project, says the campaign is designed to build an understanding of the extent of the problem.
First of all, wild pigs is a general term and it includes what we normally call Eurasian wild boar. Wild boar and their offspring have interbred with domestic pigs and sometimes you get highbred of wild boar, feral pigs, any number of names have been ascribed to them.
So, we’ve chosen wild pigs as an all-inclusive name to describe any pigs that are really not in captivity or outside the fence. These animals end up destroying cropland, they’ll destroy pastures, they’ll destroy harvested crops. These pigs are suspectable to any number of diseases so they pose a real risk to the domestic pork industry.
If we were to ever get infected with one of these foreign animal diseases, such as African Swine Fever, the fact that there’s wild pigs in the environment would make disease control extremely difficult. And then they have a significant impact on the environment as well. They’ll eat eggs from ground nesting birds or sometimes endangered small animals and they can have an impact far beyond just the agricultural community.
~ Dr. Wayne Lees, Manitoba Invasive Swine Eradication Project
Information on what to look for can be accessed at squealonpigsmb.org and sightings can be reported to 1-833-SPOT-PIG.