In 2018, we brought the story of the feral pig invasion in Saskatchewan (The War on Boar) and now, this invasive species has shown up in large enough numbers in Alberta to ring alarm bells.
Wildlife researchers call them Super Pigs — the invasive European swine that defied the odds and have thrived despite the savage winters of the prairies. They were first brought to Canada in the late 1980s, with the hopes of creating a new market for meat, as well as niche high-fence hunting opportunities. Some escaped and with sows capable of breeding twice a year and averaging six piglets per litter, their numbers have expanded at an alarming rate. Estimates have their numbers in the hundreds of thousands — possibly more — across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
These super pigs, cross-bred with domestics, often top the scales at 600 lbs and can easily destroy a yard, a pasture, an entire crop and when threatened, could easily kill a person.
Alberta’s government has expanded the Wild Boar Control Program, (WBCP) which includes active surveillance and trapping plans, and a compensation payout for farmers who suffer damage by wild boars.
The WBCP, in conjunction with existing trapping efforts, has also added two bounties; one is open to landowners and trappers, and the other is a one-year pilot open to hunters. Currently, both programs have an expiry date, but both could be extended.