Wild Boar At Large - An Invasive Pest in Alberta

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 The Alberta government is partnering with municipalities and academic organizations, and learning from other jurisdictions that are working to solve the issue of wild boar at large. We need your help and partnership to protect our province’s land, animals, people, agriculture and ecosystems.

Why are we concerned about wild boar in Alberta?
Wild boar are farmed in Alberta as livestock. However, when they are not being raised as livestock on a farm, they are considered to be “at large” and are an invasive pest that can:
  • Damage property, agricultural crops, pastures and the environment, including through rooting (digging);
  • Endanger people and animals;
  • Harass livestock and consume their feed, prey on young livestock and wildlife;
  • Spread diseases that could be transmitted to wildlife, livestock, pets and people;
  • Alter the ecosystem, including through wallowing (rolling around), that can contaminate water supplies, promote erosion, and destroy fish habitat;
  • Compete with wildlife and destroy other sensitive natural habitats; and
  • Consume the eggs of ground-nesting birds.

Are wild boar native to Alberta?
Wild boar are not native to Alberta. They came to the province in the 1980s and '90s as livestock. Over the years, some animals escaped, and have established several feral/wild populations.

How do they survive in the winter?
Wild boar are very adaptable. The wild boar in Alberta are typically the Eurasian type and have long dark hair and a woolly underfur that protects them from extreme cold. They build nests where they shelter during cold weather, and are able to travel in deep snow to access food sources.

In what kind of habitat are they found?
Wild boar prefer habitats that provide forest cover for hiding and resting, as well as access to food. During the summer months they can be found close to water sources where they can wallow to stay cool.

What do they eat?
Wild boar will eat just about any organic matter. They are omnivores, which means they will eat plants, insects, and other animals. They have a “cartilaginous disc” on their snouts, which helps them to dig and root extensively in search of insects and roots. They can use their very sharp tusks for rooting, as well as protection.

What should I do if I have wild boar on my land?
If Albertans have wild boar at-large on their land, they should call 310-FARM (3276). Provincial government staff will collect the information and work with the landowner and the municipality to help find a solution.

What are signs of wild boar at-large to watch for?
Signs of wild boar activity include:
  • Tracks in the snow or mud, or trails of groups (“sounders”) of wild boar
  • Signs of wild boar digging or rolling around (rooting and wallowing)
  • Signs of wild boar eating your livestock feed
  • Wild boar droppings

Can I hunt wild boar?
People who want to help remove pests from property are allowed to do so, and there is no licence, season, or limits for wild boar at-large. Be aware that general laws around firearms and trespassing apply and must be followed. Contact your local police or Fish and Wildlife Office for more information.

Did you know?
Non-professional hunting of wild boar at-large can actually make it harder for organized control efforts. Wild boar are very smart! Hunting can make them learn quickly to avoid humans, and this can make the problems worse.

What are the regulations for wild boar in Alberta?
In 2014, Agriculture and Forestry's Wild Boar Minimum Containment Standards were enacted for farmed wild boar. These enhanced fencing requirements were put in place to help prevent wild boar from escaping and becoming pests at-large. When wild boar are in captivity, they are considered livestock as long as the farmer meets the fencing standards.

Wild boar at large are a pest under provincial law, through the Pest and Nuisance Control Regulation. Under the Agricultural Pests Act, landowners are required to control or destroy them and prevent them from becoming established on their land.

To report wild boar at-large or for more information, please call 310-FARM (3276) toll-free in Alberta.
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Perry Abramenko.
This document is maintained by Karen Hladych.
This information published to the web on March 13, 2017.
Last Reviewed/Revised on March 23, 2017.