Sightings in Pickering of group of wild boars sparks Ontario ministry search

The Ontario government and the City of Pickering are looking for at least 14 wild boars in Pickering, citing concerns about potential environmental damage. Nick Westoll reports.

Ontario government staff say they are searching for a group of wild boars in northern Pickering after a spike in sightings in the past week-and-a-half, fearing potential damage in the area.

Mary Delaney, a resident in the hamlet of Claremont, is one of the residents who said boars damaged parts of her property.

“They were never wild here, they are not a native species, they are invasive and they are destroying native habitat,” she told CityNews.

“On a personal level it’s worrisome because we don’t feel we can leave the property because they can do so much damage really quickly.”

Morgan Kerekes, a spokesperson with the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, said the ministry began receiving reports of wild pigs, believed to be Eurasian wild boar, on Nov. 5 and since that time there have been “several” new sightings.

She said it’s not yet known where the pigs came from, but added wild boars are not native to Ontario.

A City of Pickering spokesperson told CityNews the municipality received reports from residents in the hamlet of Claremont, north of Highway 407, that there are at least 14 hogs.

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“Wild pigs are not native to Ontario and they are known to cause wide-scale devastation to wildlife and ecosystems and can cause negative impacts to Ontario’s agriculture sector,” Kerekes told CityNews in a statement Monday afternoon.

She said ministry staff have been in the area in recent days to try to trap and remove the animals, citing environmental concerns.

“They have high reproductive potential which means that populations can quickly increase in numbers, spread rapidly, and cause serious damage,” Kerekes said.

Among the issues attributed to wild boars, she said, is the way the animals target native plants and wildlife, damage habitat due to rooting and wallowing and potentially spread disease to wildlife, livestock and humans.

The ministry encouraged hunters and residents who have knowledge of the area to report wild boar sightings to staff (either through email at or over the phone at 1-833-933-2355), help the owners of pigs capture any of the loose animals, and assist property owners with responding to any potential damage.

“Publicly reported sightings continue to play a critical role in understanding the locations and number of wild pigs in the province and will inform Ontario’s research and management,” Kerekes wrote.

Meanwhile, Delaney echoed the message about reporting the sightings and discouraged people from coming to the area to hunt the boars.

CityNews Calgary report: Could wild boars head toward cities? (Dec. 3, 2019)

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