Wild pigs are taking over

If you’re worried about Canada’s housing market, just wait until we tell you about the country’s wild pig problem. 

Driving the news: A domestic swine and wild boar crossbreed known as ‘super pigs’ are wreaking havoc across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba — and are spreading at an alarming rate, ruining farmers' crops, killing wildlife, and contaminating water and livestock.

  • The wild pigs have been described by experts as the worst invasive species on the planet, and are now also popping up in smaller numbers around Ontario and B.C. 

Why it matters: Wild pigs can cause some serious damage — in the U.S., they cause US$2.5 billion in damages annually, just to crops. They can also carry up to 89 different diseases, some of which can be transmitted to humans and livestock.

  • Foot and mouth disease alone — one of the diseases the pigs can carry — could cost up to $51 billion in national exports if it spreads to cattle or other meat products.

Zoom out: Texas has developed an entire tourism industry around hunting the pigs from helicopters, but according to one Canadian wild pig expert (not their official title), these pigs reproduce so quickly that if 65% were hunted every year, the population would still increase.  

What’s next: The pigs aren’t going anywhere, and since they’ll eat anything they can get their grubby hooves on, experts say we could start seeing them pop up in cities next.—LA