Red Deer County is moving to ban wild boar farms.
Wild boar that have escaped from Alberta farms have proven a nuisance and the province officially designated them a pest in 2008 and a $50 bounty was slapped on their heads.
The county had its own brush with wild boars in 2008 when a number of the bristle-backed critters were spotted in the southwest corner of the municipality. Nineteen boars were later killed by hunters or county staff.
Clearwater County has already shut down a wild boar hunt farm within its borders and Mountain View County is working to ban boar operations, said Cody McIntosh, the county’s assistant agricultural services manager.
McIntosh recommended council enter into an agreement with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, which will enforce wild boar regulations. Once the agreement is signed, the county can pursue a bylaw to ban wild boar operations.
There is only one in the county currently.
“I do believe we should go with the bylaw (to ban),” said Coun. Richard Lorenz. “I think if these get loose we’re in trouble.”
No matter how good a fence is, something can happen, from a gate left open to a moose trampling through a property, that could allow boar to escape, said Mayor Jim Wood.
“I think it’s extremely important we do work towards a ban,” said Mayor Jim Wood.
In the U.S., boar numbers are estimated at two to six million and they cause an estimated $800 million in damage per year.
Alberta’s wild boar problem is nowhere near as bad with somewhere around 1,500 animals on the loose in areas from Lac la Biche to Medicine Hat. However, given that a female boar can produce two litters of 20 a year, the potential for a population boom remains.
Alberta’s European wild boars escaped from game farms and other breeders. Weighing up to 275 kg , the boars have adapted well to Alberta winters.