03/20/2014 01:02 EDT | Updated 05/20/2014 05:59 EDT

Feral Pigs In B.C. Can Be Hunted

ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY JUNE 16 AND THEREAFTER - This undated photo provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services shows a group of trapped feral pigs. South Dakota wildlife officials want to send wild pigs crying all the way home. The state does not currently have an established population of feral pigs, but that appears to be changing.(AP Photo/Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services)
VICTORIA - If they've got any sense, these pigs should fly — or at least find a really good hiding place.

The provincial government has declared open season on feral pigs, animals that have escaped from farms around B.C. and are now eating their way through local vegetation, uprooting crops and competing with native wildlife.

The animals, which can be aggressive and weigh up to 350 kilograms, have been included on a provincial list that allows them to be hunted at any time by anyone possessing a valid hunting licence.

A release from the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations says escaped swine have been reported in the Lower Mainland, Kamloops, Okanagan, Peace and Kootenay regions.

B.C.'s feral pig population is not large but the ministry says, once established, groups can be hard to root out, they can spread parasites and infectious diseases, and injured animals can be very dangerous.

Along with feral pigs, European wall lizards and non-native turtles have also been listed as Schedule C invasive species, meaning a permit is no longer required before trapping or killing them.

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