Wild Pigs in Ontario
In order to help prevent wild pigs from becoming established in Ontario, the provincial government has finalized Ontario’s Strategy to Address the Threat of Invasive Wild Pigs. This strategy, which was released Oct. 19, 2021, outlines actions to be implemented by the government and partner organizations. Two key steps under this strategy, and main advocacy issues for the OFAH, list wild pigs as invasive species and phase out Eurasian wild boar farming have been completed.
Wild pigs have been listed under the Invasive Species Act as a restricted invasive species, this means that no one is permitted to allow a pig to be released into the wild in Ontario. It is also prohibited to hunt for or trap wild pigs in Ontario unless they have authorization from the Minister or are protecting their property on their land, full details can be found at here. Additionally, Eurasian wild boar farming will be phased out in Ontario by 2022. After that time, it will be illegal to possess a Eurasian wild boar in Ontario. Full details on the regulations surrounding wild pigs and Eurasian wild boars can be found at here.
WILD PIG PROTOCOL
If you think you’ve seen a wild pig, take a photograph, mark your location, and contact the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Invading Species Awareness Program is a partnership between the OFAH and the MNRF to address the increasing threats posed by invasive species in Ontario.
Hunting is not the solution to the wild pig problem but hunters still have an important role to play by helping find pigs if they are present and then reporting them. To help with this we’ve created the OFAH Wild Pig Trail Camera Detection Protocol. This distills scientific research and expert advice into a handy two-page document on how to set up your trail cameras to find wild pigs. It covers everything from where to set up your camera and how to identify wild pig sign to making bait and reporting your sightings.
The OFAH is extremely concerned about wild pigs becoming established in Ontario. They have already caused widespread problems in Canada’s prairie provinces and many American states. If the MNRF does not take immediate action, Ontario could have an extensive wild pig problem with severe financial and environmental consequences. The OFAH is advocating for the eradication of wild pigs in Ontario.
Read our September 2019 letter to the Minister
Read the Minister’s response to our letter
Wild pigs (wild boar, feral domestic pigs, hybrids) are non-native to North America resulting from farm escapes and intentional releases. They are major a problem because:
- They reproduce very quickly (sexually mature at 6 months and can have two litters per year with 4-10 piglets each time)
- They can destroy native ecosystems (damage plant communities and invite invasive species, compete with native wildlife for food and habitat, decrease biodiversity)
- They are expensive to control (in the US, they cost more than $1.5 billion annually to the agricultural industry through crop damage, livestock predation and damage to equipment)
- They can spread disease (brucellosis, trichinosis, hepatitis, African Swine Fever)
Unfortunately, hunting is not the solution to this problem and will in fact make things much worse. Research and management experience from provinces and states that have been dealing with wild pigs for years has shown that hunters removing individual pigs has minimal effect on the population and instead breaks up groups of pigs (called sounders), scatters them across the landscape and teaches them to avoid hunters. This makes control efforts much more difficult and pigs quickly breed to replace any losses. Worse still, unscrupulous hunters in some states have purposely spread pigs in order to take advantage of open seasons in their areas.
What has been shown to work in eradicating wild pigs is identifying and eliminating the entire sounder. This takes dedicated wildlife professionals with specialized techniques such as trapping. This is what the OFAH is advocating for and the MNRF’s pilot study to figure out how to do this in Ontario is the critical first step.
What the OFAH Wants
- A provincial reporting and monitoring system to deal with wild pigs found on the landscape
- MNRF to respond to all reported sightings to determine appropriate action
- All reported escaped wild pigs removed from the landscape
- Dedicated government staff to train and deal with larger established wild pig populations (trapping, sharpshooting)
- MNRF to be open and transparent about wild pig escapes and sightings in Ontario by reporting annually to the public
What You Can Do
- Report the escape, release or sighting of a wild pig to email@example.com
- Visit the MNRF wild pigs web page for more details
- OOD Article – Wild Pigs Threaten Ontario
- MAP – Spread of Wild pigs across Canada (University of Saskatchewan)
- USDA Feral Swine: Impacts on Game Species