Feral Hogs Are Invading Canada, Building “Pigloos” As They Go

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, some Canadian farmers imported wild boars from Europe to raise for meat. Unfortunately, some of them escaped, either by digging under fences or barreling through them. At first, it didn’t seem like a big problem, with many believing they wouldn’t survive Canada’s long winters. The boars, however, proved hardier than expected, and now they're wreaking havoc across Canada. The feral fugitives can weigh up to 600 pounds and sport sharp tusks. To survive the harsh winters, the pigs have built above-ground shelters that researchers have dubbed “pigloos.” They eat crops such as wheat, barley and canola as they run roughshod over prairies and farmlands. They’ll make a meal out of anything that fits into their mouths, including plants, small reptiles or mammals, ground-nesting birds, and eggs. Beyond the damage to field crops, the pigs can plow through large patches of farmland in search of roots and other edibles, leaving behind devastation. They also wallow in stream beds, causing erosion and water contamination. Canadian officials are now working with the Montana Department of Livestock, which has successfully rid the state of feral hogs. They hope to use their design to get rid of the unwanted pigs in Canada.