Hybrid breed of invincible 'super pigs' are heading to the US
Could a hybrid breed of "super pigs" be heading to the U.S.? The animals, consisting of a domestic pig and a wild boar, were crossbred in Canada to help farmed pigs grow larger and tolerate the cold temperatures of the freezing nation.
However, a drop in demand about 20 years ago led to the farmers setting the pigs free, and now, they are estimated to be heading to Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Michigan.
This is according to a report by Field and Stream published last month.
Dr. Ryan Brook, who leads the University of Saskatchewan’s Canadian Wild Pig Research Project, told the news outlet that Canada’s wild pig problem is only a recent one.
“The U.S. has a 400-plus year history with invasive wild pigs, but we didn’t have any here until the early 1980s,” he said.
“There was a big push to diversify agriculture with species like wild boards and ostriches. Wild boars were brought in from Europe to be raised on farms across Canada.”
Brook added that it was around that time that many farmers and ranchers proceeded to crossbreed wild boars with domestic pigs resulting in bigger “super pigs” that could thrive in cold climates.
“For surviving in cold winters, one of the rules of ecology is the bigger, the better,” Brook explained. “Larger body animals survive the cold better and have better reproduction in those conditions.”
Super pigs escaped or were set free
In the early 2000s, demand dried up for the animals, and farmers proceeded to set them free or let them escape. This resulted in the disaster we have today, as the new species is really hard to eradicate, even in freezing temperatures.
“That they can survive in such a cold climate is one of the big surprises of this issue. The Prairie Provinces are where we have the coldest winters in Canada except for the very far north,” concluded Brook in the report.
“One of the things they do to survive is tunnel under the snow. They go into a cattail marsh and channel into the soft snow, and cut nests in the cattails. If you go early in the morning on a cold day, you can actually see steam pouring out the top of the nests.”
Will this become an uncontrollable problem for the U.S.?