County bans wild boars

Wild boar have been banned in Red Deer County.

Wild boar have been banned in Red Deer County.

Council prohibited the bristle-backed critters on Tuesday for fears escaped animals could pose a danger and proliferate to become a major nuisance.

The county has moved to ban wild boar since it got wind a breeding facility was already in operation near Penhold. That well-secured facility will not be affected by the new ban.

Mayor Jim Wood said there are plenty of opportunities to raise domestic pigs in the county without the need for wild boar, which are raised primarily for staged hunts.

“Let’s protect the agricultural side. That’s where we’re headed here,” he said.

Coun. Philip Massier said wild boar are only one among a number of agricultural and environmental threats, including weeds, insects and aquatic species, that have been emerging.

“(Wild boar are) something new and I think we’ve got to get in on the ground floor,” he said.

Massier said the existing facility would not be affected by the prohibition as long as it complied with existing regulations.

“We’re not getting in your way to continue the great work you do,” he said.

But the county can’t be sure less conscientious wild boar operators may set up in the future, he added.

A number of other Alberta rural municipalities, most recently Mountain View County, have moved to ban wild boar because of the threat posed by escaped animals, which can breed quickly and have proven to be resilient survivors in the wild.

Ray McKinnon, who runs the only breeding facility in the county, told council at Tuesday’s public hearing that his operation exceeds all provincial standards and has been inspected twice.

His 50 or so boar are secured within electrified double fencing with only a single locked double gate for access. Whenever boar are moved, a second person with a firearm stands guard to ensure none can run off.

“Escaping is not even possible. It’s just not.”

The facility is run by the non-profit Hoggin’ Alberta group, which has held fundraising hunts for Wounded Warriors, as well as other fundraisers for Ronald McDonald House and other charities.

McKinnon said they already have other events planned and are continuing to search for a fenced site in Central Alberta to hold wild boar hunts.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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