Alberta wild boar bounty program winds down as interest wanes

A bounty program designed to reduce Alberta's population of wild boars is coming to an end, in part due to declining interest, a provincial spokesperson says.

"We have got our benefits from it, which was, we collected pretty valuable data on where the wild boar problems are more concentrated," Perry Abramenko with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry told The Homestretch on Wednesday.

"The participation in it got less and less each year, 68 boars were removed last year in the program."

The program, formally introduced in 2008, paid $50 once proof of the kill was supplied. In total, about 1,000 wild boars were killed since the program started.

"Most of the bounty returns came from Lac Ste. Anne and Woodlands counties, northwest of Edmonton," Abramenko said.

Boars were introduced to the province in the 1980s and 1990s as a way of diversifying livestock, Abramenko explained, but they can be a huge problem for farmers and the environment.

"They are known to wallow in streams, contaminate water sources and cause erosion. There is also a big risk to agriculture. They carry diseases that can be transferred to livestock and pets. They can damage crops," he said.

Abramenko said the focus now becomes research and surveillance.

"We need to learn more about the scope of the problem. We are going to build some educational awareness. We are planning on teaming up with academic institutions, maybe get some research done that way," he said.

People can report sightings or conflict by called 310-FARM (3276).

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With files from The Homestretch