Crisis at the boar-der: panic as Canadian feral hogs approach the US

spanPhotograph: Rebecca Santana/AP/span
Photograph: Rebecca Santana/AP

America is facing a crisis at the border. It’s just not the one you might have heard about. According to officials with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), sightings of feral hogs along the northern US-Canadian border have increased in recent years, and the prospect of the invasive species has wildlife experts worried.

The roving swine have reportedly set their itinerary for Montana, according to the Daily Inter Lake.

Related: What about the 30-50 feral hogs? Man’s defense of assault weapons goes viral

“Multiple people say that if we were to design an invasive species that would do the most widespread damage, feral swine aren’t too far off from being the perfect specimen,” Dale Nolte of the USDA’s National Feral Swine Program told the Daily Inter Lake. “It would be a disaster.”

The feral hogs can present all manner of complications for environments: they don’t belong, are exceptionally large, are often aggressive, can be difficult to track down and breed copiously. There is also the potential they may carry diseases such as African swine fever and foot-and-mouth disease.

Ryan Brook, a researcher at the University of Saskatchewan, told the Daily Inter Lake that the hogs are also capable of covering significant distances. “There is a general denial that wild pigs are a critical issue,” he said.

As many on social media have been quick to point out, the prospect of a feral hog invasion harkens back to a short-lived but widely spread meme about the animals from August in which a man said assault weapons were necessary in rural areas throughout the country in order to stem the invasion. “How do I kill the 30-50 feral hogs that run into my yard within 3-5 mins while my small kids play?” he asked on Twitter.

More than 6 million feral swine can be found in 32 states in the US, according to the USDA, which estimates the annual damage they cause at over $1.5b.

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