Ontario’s Strategy to Address the Threat of Invasive Wild Pigs

ERO number
019-3468
Notice type
Policy
Act
Invasive Species Act, 2015
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Notice stage
Proposal
Proposal posted
Comment period
April 21, 2021 - June 7, 2021 (47 days) Open
Last updated

This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
June 7, 2021

Proposal summary

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has drafted Ontario’s Strategy to Address the Threat of Invasive Wild Pigs which outlines a proactive approach to prevent the establishment of invasive wild pigs in the province.

Proposal details

Wild pigs have been coined ‘an ecological train wreck’ because of the extent and magnitude of damage they cause. They have significant impacts on the natural environment, native wildlife, and the agriculture industry. The issue of wild pigs is complex. No single government, ministry, conservation organization or sector can address the issue alone. Ontario’s Strategy to Address the Threat of Invasive Wild Pigs outlines the province’s proactive approach to respond the issue of wild pigs.

The draft strategy provides information on wild pigs and their status in the province, as well as an overview of their ability to spread, become established, and the resulting impacts. Based on experiences from other jurisdictions, it is clear that the least costly and most effective approach for managing wild pigs is to act early.

As such, Ontario’s goal is to “prevent the establishment of invasive wild pigs in the province”.

This goal is supported by the following four objectives:

  1. prevent the introduction of pigs into the natural environment
  2. address the risk posed by Eurasian wild boar in Ontario
  3. use a coordinated approach to remove wild pigs from the natural environment
  4. leverage expertise and resources by collaborating across ministries, with federal agencies, other jurisdictions, and industry stakeholders, and partners

The strategy further defines these objectives and corresponding actions that are needed to achieve our goal. For example, the strategy includes important actions to address the risk of certain types of wild pigs (i.e., Eurasian wild boar) and escaped domestic pigs. The actions identified in the strategy are multi-pronged, highlighting the need for clear communications, robust policy, Ontario-specific research, management actions, and strong collaboration.

Hunters have an important role to play in protecting native Ontario wildlife and the natural environment. The strategy clarifies the role of hunters in addressing the wild pig problem.

Certain actions require regulatory amendments under the Invasive Species Act, 2015. Further information on proposed regulatory amendments are provided through a complementary ERO regulation proposal notice https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-3465.

Background

A wild pig is defined as any pig that is not contained or under the physical control of any person or is otherwise roaming freely. This includes Eurasian wild boar, domestic pigs, and hybrids that have escaped or been released from captivity, as well as their offspring.

Wild pigs are not native to Ontario and can have a negative impact on native wildlife and ecosystems. They have high reproductive potential which means that populations can increase in number and spread rapidly, making their impacts more severe. Impacts to the natural environment include:

  • preying upon native plants and wildlife
  • competing with native wildlife for food, water, and space
  • rooting into the ground with their tusks and snouts to dig for roots, tubers, bulbs, worms, insects, slugs, and snails
  • spreading disease to wildlife

As well as posing a threat to the natural environment, wild pigs also impact the agricultural industry, and human health and safety. One of the most concerning impacts of wild pigs is their potential to transmit diseases and parasites. A notable disease concern is African Swine Fever. Although not currently present in North America, it is considered the largest threat to the global pork industry. Wild pigs can also cause serious damage to agricultural lands and stored crops. In areas where wild pigs have become established, jurisdictions are investing significant time and resources to compensate for damages and to undertake efforts to control their spread.

At this time, there is no firm evidence to suggest that wild pigs are established (i.e. self-sustaining and breeding) in Ontario. By implementing the actions in the draft strategy, we have an opportunity to proactively address the threat of wild pigs within the province.

Supporting materials

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Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

MNRF - FWPB - Biodiversity and Invasive Species Section
Address

300 Water Street
5th Floor, North tower
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7
Canada

Office phone number

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