The province is introducing several measures to eliminate a destructive invasive species.
Alberta's government has developed the Wild Boar Control Program in response to the pest's threat to crops, livestock, and the environment. The new approach includes an expanded surveillance and trapping program, compensation for farmers and two separate bounty programs – one for landowners and trappers and another for hunters.
Government-approved trappers will be compensated $75 per set of ears per sounder (a herd of feral hogs), encouraging the elimination of entire sounders. Landowners who work with approved trappers are eligible for $75 per set of ears.
For hunters, those who turn in wild boar ears will receive $75 per set. Both programs will be run through participating municipalities listed on the government website.
Additionally, wild boar damage will now be included in the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program administered by the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation.
"Wild boar at large are a threat to our animals and environment, as well as a vector for diseases like African swine fever. We are taking action to get rid of this menace and help those affected by it before it gets worse," said minister of agriculture, forestry and rural economic development Nate Horner.
Introduced in the 80s and 90s, the boars initially were meant to help diversify Alberta's agriculture. The boars were used for meat or on hunting farms where people could hunt them in an enclosed area.
Over the years, the highly intelligent boars escaped their enclosures, some intentionally released by farmers no longer interested in caring for the animals.
Apart from damaging crops, the boars are also notorious for contaminating waterways and will eat small animals like birds who nest on the ground. There have been reports of the boars eating smaller livestock like foals and goats.
Wild boars also multiply quickly, with one pig producing three litters a year with up to six piglets.
Edmonton's surrounding regions are a hotspot for the boars, with sightings of the critters reported throughout Sturgeon County, Lamont County and Strathcona County. Last October, wild boars were spotted in Elk Island National Park for the first time.
More information about the Wild Boar Control Program can be found here. To report any signs or sightings, you can call 310-FARM or email AF.firstname.lastname@example.org.