Invasive Super Pigs Coming to America – Will We See Them in Wisconsin or Iowa?
Take the Bacon Away
Invasive species are always a hot button issue; especially when it comes to our safety, farmland, or livelihoods. And unfortunately, bacon never looked so scary.
No, we're not talking about high cholesterol, or those dreaded extra pounds, but "super pigs" from the North are starting to flood into the United States and that could cause big problems.
Why We Don't Want Super Pigs in the USA
So, what's the big deal with these super pigs?
- Contaminate water sources with E. coli and other bacteria, putting public safety and health at risk
- Damage natural habitats, displacing wildlife and negatively impacting biodiversity
- Uproot and trample crops, destroying farmers’ hard work
- Can carry up to 89 diseases, threatening farm livestock
- Reproduce alarmingly fast, with females giving birth to 4 to 12 piglets up to twice a year
This special breed of hybrid "super pigs" from Canada pose a significant threat to native wildlife and are proving extremely difficult to control. The "super pigs" are a mix of domestic pigs and wild boars, which were originally bred to withstand Canada's cold temperatures and grow larger. However, when the market for them declined, farmers released them, resulting in an uncontrolled population explosion.
According to a recent report from Field & Stream, one of the surprising aspects of these "super pigs" is their ability to survive in colder climates, which allows them to outcompete native species for resources. They have extreme appetites. That's right they are REAL pigs. They can feed on waterfowl, including goslings and ducklings, as well as larger animals like whitetail deer and elk when they are adults. Additionally, they cause significant crop damage, further impacting agriculture in the areas they invade.
Are the Super Pigs in the US Now?
The super pigs have already crossed into North Dakota from Canada, and their spread is expected to increase, reaching states such as Montana, Minnesota, and Michigan. It is not a stretch to say this quick-breeding species could even hit areas of Wisconsin, and into Iowa, in the coming years if populations are not controlled. Traditional hunting methods have proven ineffective as the pigs have become nocturnal and have dispersed into forests, glades, marshes, and wetlands.
“We have already documented pig occurrences less than 10 miles from the U.S. border. Quite honestly, I think there have already been some in Manitoba going into North Dakota for the last 5 or 6 years. There is no physical, biological boundary at the U.S.-Canada border. There is hardly any kind of fencing to speak of. There’s a real risk of pigs moving south into the U.S.”
-Dr. Ryan Brook, University of Saskatchewan’s Canadian Wild Pig Research Project Lead
How Can We Combat Super Pigs?
To combat this invasion, the "Judas Pig" concept has been utilized. Basically, scientist strap a GPS collar on certain pigs and then track and locate other members of the population. However, controlling their numbers remains a challenge. The video below shows how the "super pig" population has exploded in Canada.
How to Report Super Pigs if You See One
Vigilance from authorities and the public is crucial when it comes to reporting sightings of these super pigs. Collaboration through platforms like the Squeal on Pigs website, which began in Manitoba, can aid in gathering information and coordinating eradication efforts. A comprehensive approach involving wildlife management agencies, hunters, farmers, and local communities is necessary to effectively mitigate the threat and prevent the further spread of these hybrid super pigs. One caveat, local hunters, with limited resources and no real plans of engagement, could actually worsen the situation by dispersing current hog populations into new areas more quickly. Hope you like bacon and pork chops, because at this rate we'll have to start harvesting a whole bunch of "super pigs" very soon.