Highly Intelligent and Possibly Invincible Super Pigs Are Invading America

·2 min read
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  • A special breed of hybrid super pigs from Canada have started to travel south into the northern United States.

  • The pigs pose a threat to native wildlife and may prove tough to eradicate.

  • The spread of the pigs has only increased in recent years.

A hybrid breed of super pigs—a mix of a domestic pig and a wild boar—is running wild in Canada. And now they have their sights set on the United States.

Originally crossbred to help farmed pigs grow larger and tolerate the cold temperatures of Canada, a drop in the market about two decades ago led some farmers to let their hybrid pigs run free. Now they’re running very free, according to Field and Stream. The super pigs are coming south, likely heading to Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Michigan.

The problem? The super pigs are proving hard to eradicate.

“That they can survive in such a cold climate is one of the big surprises of this issue,” Ryan Brook, leader of the University of Saskatchewan’s Canadian Wild Pig Research Project, tells Field and Stream.

The cold-hardiness of the hybrid pigs means they survive well. That means other native species don’t. Brook elaborates:

“Wild hogs feed on anything. They gobble up tons and tons of goslings and ducklings in the spring. They can take down a whitetail deer, even an adult. Originally, it was like ‘wow, this is something we can hunt.’ But it’s become clear that they’re threatening our whitetail deer, elk, and especially, waterfowl. Not to mention the crop damage. The downsides outweigh any benefit wild hogs may have as a huntable species.”

The super pigs have already traversed across the international border, dipping into at least North Dakota. So, expect an even greater occurrence as the hybrid population only grows. Like on public transit, if you see something, say something. The Squeal on Pigs website makes that even easier.

The super pigs have become adept at fending off recreational hunters, sometimes with entire sounders (the term for a group of pigs, generally led by mature sows) turning nocturnal to avoid the hunting. Other times the sounders will disperse, making them harder to locate, or change their patterns and retreat to forests or wetlands.

The best strategy at reigning in the super pigs has been employing the Judas Pig concept, which straps a GPS collar onto a pig to lead game officials to other pigs. Deception may be our only hope.

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