Necessary measures are now being taken in the province in order to strengthen and broaden regulations, monitoring, and control of wild boars and feral pigs.
In attempts to stop the spread of the damaging species, the Ministry of Agriculture has decided to license existing commercial wild boar farms and impose a moratorium on new farms.
To improve surveillance and eradication efforts in the province, the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) is also doubling its funding to their wild boar eradication program to $200,000 annually. The program has been developed to manage reported sightings.
The invasive nature of wild pigs, especially in agricultural production areas, presents a significant problem because of the damage they cause to fields, crops and natural ecosystems. The U.S. loses 2.5 billion dollars per year just in crop damage alone due to wild pigs," states Dr. Ryan Brook of the University of Saskatchewan's Canadian Wild Pig Research Project.
As well as spreading invasive plants, wild boars threaten livestock and wildlife with diseases such as African swine fever, a federally reportable disease not yet present in North America but has caused massive disruptions in China's pork industry.
"Increasing feral pig surveillance and eradication efforts, along with declaring them a regulated pest, are proactive measures to help ensure the health of both the agriculture industry and the natural environment in Saskatchewan," Agriculture Minister David Marit said in a recent release to the public.
"These are substantial steps that improve risk management and protect the resilience and security of our agriculture industry, which is a critical component of our provincial economy."
Dr. Ryan Brook of the University of Saskatchewan claims that Saskatchewan has the most significant number of wild pigs in Canada, with the highest number of sightings reported in the province's northeast portion.
"Let's be clear, wild pigs on the Canadian Prairies are expanding completely out of control, and you can quote me on that" said Dr. Brook.
All wild boar or feral pig sightings should be reported to a local SCIC office or by calling 1-888-935-0000 to help stop the spread of the invasive species.