Invasive Canadian ‘super pigs’ boarish-ly hogging northern US states — What’s at stake?

An image of super pigs. — X/@taviphoto US experts worry that an increasing number of “super pigs,” which are difficult to exterminate, may invade the northern states — being intelligent and large, the pig breed is capable of destroying crops and wildlife as well as entire areas. 

States are making additional preparations since hunting may exacerbate the issue.

The “super pig” is an “ecological train wreck”—a crossbreed that combines the size and fecundity of farmed pigs in Canada with the survival qualities of the Eurasian boar.

One of Canada’s foremost experts on the subject, Professor Ryan Brook, said, “Swine are the most invasive animal on the planet,” spreading illness and destroying crops and animals alike.

“Nobody should be surprised when pigs start walking across that border if they haven’t already,” Professor Brook said.

“The question is: what will be done about it?”

Although northern states like North Dakota, Montana, and Minnesota are attempting to halt the influx, managing the rapidly increasing population is proving to be difficult.

The pigs procreate incredibly fast and have the advantage of being intelligent and hairy, which helps them withstand Canadian winters.

A single sow may give birth to six piglets in one litter and raise two litters a year, therefore even if the population were reduced by 65% annually, the sows would nonetheless proliferate.

Furthermore, Professor Brook claims that since hunters only have a two to three percent success rate, hunting may exacerbate the issue.

Additionally, hunting has been outlawed in a number of jurisdictions because it makes pigs more nocturnal and skittish, making them more difficult to locate.

Alternatively, net guns launched from helicopters or ground traps such as the “BoarBuster” are being considered.

While scientists have explored poisons such as sodium nitrite, they run the risk of endangering other species. Several states have also implemented crowdsourced “Squeal on Pigs” tracking programmes.

“The only path forward is you have to be really aggressive and you have to use all the tools in the toolbox,” Professor Brook said.

In the US alone, pigs cause $2.5 billion (£1.98 billion) in agricultural damage annually, primarily in the southern states.

Additionally, they have sometimes been known to attack people; in 2019, a Texas lady was murdered by one of them.

The creatures have spent millennia roaming North America, despite not being native to the continent.

Before the market crashed in 2001 and some irate farmers decided to just release the animals, Canada’s issues began in the 1980s when farmers were urged to grow wild boar.

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