FOUND IN B.C.? Possible. Low numbers of feral pigs have been reported on Vancouver Island, and in the Lower Mainland, Thompson Okanagan, Cariboo Chilcotin, Peace, and Kootenay regions. No established populations are currently known in BC. 

CURRENTLY KNOWN IN: Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.


Feral pigs are wild boars, escaped domestic pigs, or the offspring of domestic pigs that have escaped captivity and mated with wild pigs. They are also referred to as wild boar, wild pig, feral swine, Eurasian wild boar, and poor man’s grizzly. 

Photo credit: The Canadian Council on Invasive Species

They have a wide range of appearances due to their mixed genetics. Feral pigs are light reddish brown, white, or black in colouring and have coarse, dark hair on their bodies. Piglets are lighter in colour and commonly have stripes down their back that fade when they reach about four months old.

Feral pig snouts may be longer like a wild boar, or shorter like a domestic pig nose. Adults pigs have prominent upper canine teeth, and some have tusks. They have a large wedge shaped head and big ears. Adult males weigh between 95-100 kilograms, while the females are much smaller, weighing around 70-75 kilograms. Adult feral pigs are about 1 metre tall at the shoulder.

Life Cycle

A herd of wild boars, sus scrofa, on a meadow wet from dew. Wild animals in nature early in the morning with moisture covered grass. Mammals in wilderness.

Feral pigs are active reproducers and female pigs typically have two litters every year with 10-12 piglets in each. Males reach sexuality maturity at seven months, females within their first year. The average lifespan of a feral pig is nine years, and they stop growing when they are 5-6 years in age. Once established, populations of feral pigs can expand very quickly. 


Wild pigs enjoy living near fresh water under dense cover, but are very adaptable to climatic and environmental conditions. They create damaging  mud “wallows” in wetland environments. They have been found in a wide range of elevations, from sea level all the way to 2400 metres! Feral pigs have been found in high densities where agriculture land is bordered by areas of dense vegetation coverage. They are omnivores that are very large and can be aggressive towards humans.

Introduction and Spread

Pigs are native to Eurasia. They have been introduced worldwide for farming and hunting, and are now found on every continent except Antarctica. Eurasian wild boar were first introduced to Canada for meat production and hunting in the 1980s. When the demand was lower than expected, meat producers intentionally released their stock into the wild where they began to establish populations of wild boar and hybrid offspring with domestic pigs. Population range and size has been growing over recent years, as pigs continue to escape captivity and adapt to a wide range of habitat conditions. This problem may be exacerbated by recent wildfires in the province damaging fencing, allowing pigs to escape. There have been a number of reports of pigs escaping pens in BC following wildfires, which could lead to populations of feral pigs becoming established in new areas. 


Feral pigs have detrimental environmental, economic, and health impacts due to their rooting and predation behaviour. 

Environmental Impacts 
Feral pigs are a threat to BC’s wildlife. They decrease biodiversity by outcompeting native species for food and habitat, and predating on a variety of native species. Feral pigs prey on small animals such as amphibians, smaller mammals, crustaceans, ground nesting birds and their eggs, and deer, goat, and sheep babies. Feral pigs negatively alter natural ecosystems processes through rooting and trampling, which destroys seedlings and damages root systems of native plants. This behaviour also provides invasive plant species the opportunity to establish in these newly disturbed areas. Disruptive wallowing behaviours cause increased erosion, sedimentation, and eutrophication in aquatic environments. In forest environments, the pigs eat seedlings and damage older trees by using them to scratch, allowing insects and pathogens to invade the now susceptible trees. 

Economic Impacts

Feral pigs cause major crop and infrastructure damage by trampling and rooting on agricultural land. They can also transmit diseases, prey on newborn livestock, and cause vehicle collisions. In the United States, agricultural economic losses caused by feral pigs is estimated to be $1.5 billion USD annually1. More economic loss from feral pigs is incurred through increased fencing needs, and veterinary treatments.

Health Impacts

Feral pigs can transmit diseases to humans, livestock, and wildlife. Where pig populations are established, the water quality may become contaminated by feces. This allows for the transmission of parasites and diseases to humans who consume the contaminated water. Livestock are also at risk of being infected with a number of diseases by feral pigs, causing devastating economic losses.

What Can We Do?


“Squeal on Pigs!” is a program created by the Canadian Council on Invasive Species to increase awareness of the impacts of feral pigs, manage their spread, and to promote the reporting of sightings.

There are a number of things that can be done to help prevent feral pigs from spreading further. Firstly, one can observe and report any sightings of pigs outside of captivity to aid in the prevention of established feral pig populations. Report any sightings of pigs themselves, but also be on the lookout for signs of pig activity such as tracks, rooting and trampling, mud wallows, and rubbing on rocks, trees, and fences. More management methods include stronger regulations and enforcement of wild boar farms, installation of more fencing to prevent escapes, and vaccinating farm animals to prevent the spread of diseases. Eradication of feral pig populations is very difficult as pigs are excellent at hiding and are capable of altering habitat and behaviour when traps are placed. Hunting is an ineffective management method, as it causes pigs to scatter and form new populations that learn to avoid humans. It is important to never release captive pigs into the wild, and to clean off equipment to avoid spreading diseases carried by wild pigs. 

REPORT: Report all sightings of invasive species to CSISS on our website, to the Province with their online form or on the Report Invasive mobile app.

Literature and Resources:


Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society