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Last summer's wildfires could mean surge in feral pigs, Shuswap group warns

First wildfires, now feral pigs

The Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society is sounding the alarm about the threat of invasive feral pigs in the Shuswap after last summer's wildfires.

In a press release, Robyn Hooper, executive director of CSISS, said escaped domestic pigs can grow into a serious issue.

“The summer of 2023 saw many wildfires in the Columbia Shuswap region. These fires destroyed fencing and likely allowed for pigs to escape captivity,” Hooper said.

“Feral pigs are a combination of wild boars, escaped domestic pigs and hybrid offspring of the two.”

The number of pigs that are still in the wild after last year's wildfires remains unknown.

“Established populations of feral pigs are not present in B.C., but are known in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba,” Hooper said.

According to CSISS, feral pigs can cause massive environmental impacts.

“Feral pigs threaten wildlife through predation and decrease biodiversity by outcompeting with native species,” Hooper said.

“Disruptive rooting and wallowing behaviours increase erosion in aquatic environments. They cause major economic losses through crop and infrastructure damage, and transmit diseases to humans, livestock, and wildlife.”

Hooper said hunting the wild pigs will not solve the problem.

“Do not hunt feral pigs, this causes them to spread out and form new groups that learn to avoid humans,” Hooper said.

“Other management steps include more fencing, and vaccination of farm animals to prevent the spread of diseases from feral pigs.”

CSISS is asking the public to report any sightings of wild pigs or pig activity such as tracks, wallows and rubbing.

Residents can report invasive species through the society's website or through the Report Invasives mobile app.

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