ALBERTA

Saskatchewan Wild Boar Website Aims To Track Pesky Piggies

07/24/2013 03:16 EDT | Updated 07/24/2013 04:17 EDT
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One man is doing his best to keep an eye on Saskatchewan's boorish wild boars, in an attempt to keep the pesky porker population in check.

Clinton Hood, an IT technician with the North Regional Health Authority, has created a website aimed at tracking the animals before they go hog wild in farmers' fields.

“I wanted to do something to help in the fight against these animals,” Hood told the Prince Albert Herald.

“I am a hunter, but I knew that just myself alone wouldn't be able to put a dent in the population. That's when I turned to my skill set, computers.”

Weighing 50 kilograms to 100 kilograms and armed with razor-sharp tusks these wild swine are wreaking havoc in many U.S. states and their population in Saskatchewan is becoming an increasing nuisance.

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14 Wild Boar Facts

They're similar to rats, in that they eat anything and everything and have the ability to reproduce quickly. Females can have six or more piglets in a litter and two litters a year.

They are also extremely damaging to crops, digging deep into the soil to access the roots and bulbs of plants.

And with no major predator to scare them away, these big piggies become bullies when confronting other animals - often scaring off livestock and helping themselves to their feed.

Ryan Brook, a researcher with the University of Saskatchewan, told the Canadian Press last year "the window is closing very rapidly" on the province's chance to control the beasts' numbers.

"If we don't take some very serious action over the next two years, then we're very quickly going to be moving into a position where we're simply trying to manage and live with wild boar, rather than eradicate them."

Hood's website allows farmers, hunters and others to plot a boar sighting on a map. Those hungry for bacon can also share their personal contact information, should they wish to arrange a hunting trip with others.

According to Brook, wild boars not only cause billions of dollars in crop damage each year in the U.S. but they are also filthy pigs – they carry a grocery list of diseases that can be transferred to humans, including the deadly E. coli.

Brook says they do not have solid numbers on Saskatchewan's wild boar population.

“They are very elusive, a lot of people have wild boar in Saskatchewan in their area and don’t even know it because they are often nocturnal and they tend to avoid people,” he told Global News.

The animals were transported to Saskatchewan in the late 1970s for farming purposes. Some of the pigs escaped from farms while others were released by farmers to create hunting opportunities, reports the National Post.

The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities receives some government funding to dispatch hired sharpshooters to problem areas. Brook says they killed about 700 boars in the last few years.