Cross-border cooperation nets feral swine boar

Cooperation is often the key to successful wildlife management, especially when the species crosses international borders. Feral swine, also wild pigs (Sus scrofa) in the United States are widely accepted as a significant threat to natural resources and agriculture. Our neighbors to the north also recognize this same unfortunate fact and recently reached out to Wildlife Services in New York for help.

As part of a pilot project to address concerns about feral swine, biologists with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry hosted two wildlife biologists from Wildlife Services-New York for a one-day workshop in January. Mark Jackling and Dan Hojnacki had been involved in the successful eradication of feral swine in New York.

Dan Hojnacki, of WS-New York, discusses feral hog eradication techniques with staff members from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry at a January workshop. Credit: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry

The workshop shared experience gained and lessons learned over the course of that eradication campaign in order to help MNRF staff address the emerging threat of invasive feral swine in the province. It covered the history and challenges of feral swine management in New York and strategies used in efforts to achieve elimination. The tactics included education, outreach, coalition building, legislative action, a coordinated professional lethal control campaign that emphasized “whole-sounder” removal, shortfalls of recreational hunting as a management tool in eradication and post-elimination monitoring. The workshop included demonstrations of FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared), night vision and corral-trapping techniques. WS-NY also imparted the importance of online GIS tools in their work.

The workshop resulted in a lasting professional relationship among the participants, with MNRF biologists reaching out to WS-NY biologists over recent months for additional guidance. In August, when Ontario biologists captured a problematic wild boar, they acknowledged WS-NY staff for providing important technical assistance that led to this successful action. Ontario is well situated to face any future feral swine threats.

Wildlife Services is a Strategic Partner of TWS.

Header Image: Long been a problem in the United States, feral swine are increasingly a challenge for Canadian wildlife agencies. Credit: USDA-Wildlife Services