14 wild boars on the loose in Pickering trapped and euthanized after weeks-long 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.

The Ontario government is reporting more than a dozen wild boars seen roaming in north Pickering have been trapped after a weeks-long search.

Morgan Kerekes, an Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry spokesperson, told CityNews on Tuesday that 11 wild pigs were captured by staff at the end of November while the last three boars were trapped on Monday.

She said in a statement crews over the past several weeks installed trail cameras and bait traps in areas where property owners reported seeing 14 boars.

However, Kerekes said the boars were “humanely euthanized and will be sent for necropsy and research.”

“Through this research, we will learn about the condition of wild pigs in Ontario, potential diseases and pathogens and outcomes will inform future management,” she wrote.

“The ministry considers many factors in determining the appropriate method for removing wild pigs from the natural environment, such as whether wild pigs could be a vector for disease, if they are breeding in the wild or are causing damage, and whether ownership can be determined.”

It was on Nov. 5 when ministry officials first reported receiving reports of the wild pigs, believed to be Eurasian wild boar, near the hamlets of Brougham and Claremont. It wasn’t clear where the boars came from. In the days that followed, the number of reports grew and so did the fears of reproduction.

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

“Invasive wild pigs can have significant impacts on the natural environment and agricultural industry,” Kerekes said, pointing to damage the animals can cause to farmlands due to trampling, wallowing, and rooting behaviours.

“Wild pigs can also impact native plants and animals directly through predation and indirectly through competition for food and destruction of habitat. They can spread disease to native wildlife and livestock.”

Mary Delaney is one of the residents who had property damage after the pigs visited twice, sparking concerns about further issues. However, the animals didn’t come back after the second visit. She said she is relieved that the animals were captured and noted the pigs were found roughly one-and-a-half kilometres away.

“I’m happy for everybody here, I’m happy for the environment and I’m happy for the national park next door,” Delaney said, praising the two Ontario government staff who headed up trapping efforts.

“The longer it went along of course the greater the chance they were going to reproduce and in fact [the government crews] said they had witnessed lots of breeding … in other words, you’ve got pregnant sows out there and so the next generation would be born feral and really dangerous.”

After trying a variety of sweeter foods, she said the pigs were ultimately lured with peanut butter and Marshmellow fluff sandwiches.

“That was the magic ingredient was fluffernutters on a stick,” Delaney said.

Meanwhile, should anyone in Ontario come across wild boars, officials asked them to email or call the ministry at wildpigs@ontario.ca or 1-833-933-2355.

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