Wild boar report provides options to Alberta ag minister

Industry regulation Survey of producers and area residents about management of animal pest delivered to government officials

County officials across Alberta are hoping a decision is made soon on regulations or guidelines for wild boar farms in the province.

A report on the various options for regulating the industry has been forwarded to agriculture minister Verlyn Olson’s office.

“The paperwork has gone forward to the minister. It is working its way through the system,” said Vaughn Christensen, manager of inspection services with Alberta Agriculture.

Government officials surveyed wild boar producers, their neighbours and county officials this winter about problems with wild boar in parts of the province.

County officials worry that the problem of feral wild boar will become worse without better regulations.

Sows can have up to 10 offspring per litter and two litters per year. The species has no natural predators.

“We’ve been dealing with this problem for quite a few years,” said Geoff Thompson, agricultural services manager with Lac Ste. Anne County.

Agriculture Service Board members passed a resolution in January, asking the government to “fast track and initiate” a provincial strategy to eradicate wild boar as a pest in Alberta.

The province declared wild boar a pest in 2008, but county officials want tighter rules around farmed wild boar to prevent more animals from escaping.

Christensen said the survey asked questions about the need to require producers to have better perimeter fences and possible identification tags similar to cattle.

Thompson said he would like to see government implement regulations around the production of wild boar in the province.

Government has ignored wild boar resolutions brought forward at Agricultural Service Board conventions in previous years, he added.

“It’s the first time I have actually seen the department follow through with a survey. I think that is positive news.”

Olson said he knows wild boar are a concern in pockets of the province and that there is a feeling more needs to be done before the species become a more serious pest.

“There are all kinds of issues there having to do with fencing and a variety of potential solutions and I don’t have a report from the department with any recommendations, but I know they have been out talking to affected municipalities and sharing ideas and potential solutions,” he said.

“I am waiting for some recommendations and waiting to go from there. I am part of the system, and it hasn’t reached my desk yet.”

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