A researcher with the University of Saskatchewan is organizing a study of the wild boar population in Canada fearing that their already large population has the potential to negatively impact native wildlife habitat in the Canadian province.

The researcher, Ryan Brook, compares the severity of the situation in Saskatchewan to the distribution of feral pigs in Texas, which is about the same in land size as Saskatchewan. The state of Texas regularly hires sharpshooters, runs competitions, and allows citizens to eradicate the beast that destroys crops, spreads diseases, and reproduces rapidly.

While the neighboring provinces of Manitoba and Alberta already have boar eradication programs in place, Saskatchewan is still trying to understand boar behavior in the province.

“There’s a big black hole in terms of our understanding of where they are, how many we have,” Brook told the Canadian Press.

Outdoor Life writer Gayne C. Young, a Texas native, said, “Saskatchewan has a lot to lose, if you consider the critical waterfowl habitat in the state and the vast agriculture lands there that serve as trophy buck factories.”

Currently, hunters need to seek permission from landowners and rural municipalities to kill wild boars. They are listed as dangerous strays by the Saskatchewan government. The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities has hired sharpshooters to cull populations in problem areas with funds from the government. That has eliminated about 700 boars in the last few years.

There is also a study underway to determine which poisons could be used to specifically to kill wild boars without having a negative effect on other animals. However, no action will be taken until officials and Brook can complete a study of the population.

“If we don’t take some very serious action over the next two years, then we’re very quickly going to be moving into a position where we’re simply trying to manage and live with wild boar, rather than eradicate them,” Brook said.

Image from devra (minicooper93402) on the flickr Creative Commons

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