For Release: June 14, 2023
HELENA–The message is clear. Squeal on Pigs! A North American partnership formed to prevent the spread and establishment of feral swine have released a new campaign promoting awareness and reporting of feral swine.
“Across North America feral swine are also known as wild pigs, wild boar, hogs, or other names,” said Liz Lodman, administrator of the State of Montana Invasive Species Council and U.S. co-chair of the Transboundary Feral Swine Working Group which works to address feral swine between the United States and Canada. “Regardless of what you call feral swine, they are a big problem and pose a significant threat to our economy and environment.”
Within the United States, feral swine are known to cause over $2.5 billion in damage and control costs to agriculture, property, and natural resources.
Additionally, potential introduction of foreign animal diseases such as African swine fever (ASF), foot and mouth disease, or classical swine fever (CSF), pose a substantial risk to the livestock industry, trade, and food security.
To address these risks and damages, the U.S. National Feral Swine Damage Management Program, led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, was established in 2014. Congress allocates funds annually to support the program in feral swine disease surveillance, population monitoring, and damage management efforts across 38 states and territories.
“The threat of feral swine is vast. Their impact is far-reaching, harming agriculture and livestock, wildlife and ecosystems, human health, and safety, and more,” said Jeanine Neskey, Extension Specialist for the National Feral Swine Damage Management Program. “In some regions, feral swine have existed for centuries, making eradication a substantial challenge. However, in regions where feral swine are not yet well established, we have an opportunity to stop their population spread. Squeal on Pigs! Is how we will keep regions feral swine free.”
In Canada, feral swine are expanding quickly.
While occasional sightings are reported in British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario, established populations are now found in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and present a huge risk of introducing African swine fever which would devastate Canada’s pork industry (Canada is the world’s third largest exporter of pork) if it became prevalent in commercial swine.
“In Canada, there is a massive ongoing effort with implementation of Canada’s Wild Pig Strategy to provide Canada-wide leadership to facilitate eradication of feral swine by enhancing the understanding of the problem, educating on best practices, coordinating efforts across regions, provinces, territories and with Indigenous organizations and partners, and systematically tracking progress toward shared goals.” said Kellie Sherman, Operations Supervisor with the Canadian Council on Invasive Species and Canadian Co-Chair of the Transboundary Feral Swine Working Group. “The Canadian Council on Invasive Species is excited to play a key role in education and awareness on this important topic with the new Squeal on Pigs! Program.’’
Early Detection is Key
North American agencies agree that early detection of newly introduced feral swine is key to triggering quick and effective management. To raise public awareness and promote reporting of feral swine, a new campaign titled Squeal on Pigs! and associated reporting tool have been released which are available now.
The Squeal on Pigs! campaign is tailorable for use across North America. The campaign includes templates in French, Spanish, and English. Campaign graphics include logos, stickers, social media assets, and other educational elements that are customizable for local, state or provincial/territorial, and national use, including Indigenous territories, to aid programs and harmonize public communications. Partners are invited to join the Squeal on Pigs! partnership, that will include a North American website and upcoming management workshops and policy summits in summer of 2023 and beyond.
“Invasive species, including feral swine, do not respect jurisdictional boundaries such as international borders.” Said Lodman. “To be successful in protecting or economy and environment we must work in harmony across those same borders.”
Get the Mobile App!
In addition to campaign resources, the University of Georgia’s Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health developed a Squeal on Pigs! mobile application for Android and iOS devices that function as a digital field guide to identify signs and damage, scat, and hoof prints. In the event you spot a pig out of captivity, the app also creates an alert that is integrated into the Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS), a North American invasive species database. The report also triggers an alert to managers which aids in rapid response.
“Data and information sharing are key to successfully understanding and stopping invasive species.” said Chuck Bargeron, Director of the University of Georgia’s Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. “The Squeal on Pigs! app is an educational tool that also informs a North American understanding of the distribution and spread. This data will help create long-term solutions.”
Funding for the Squeal on Pigs! campaign and reporting application are provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Feral Swine Damage Management Program through the State of Washington Invasive Species Council.
Montana Invasive Species Council
Media & Staff Contact: Liz Lodman
Canadian Council on Invasive Species
Media & Staff Contact: Kellie Sherman
University of Georgia
Media Contact: Rebekah Wallace
Staff Contact: Chuck Bargeron
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Public Affairs Wildlife Services
Media Contact: Tanya Espinosa
U.S. Department of Agriculture National
Feral Swine Damage Management Program
Staff Contact: Jeanine Neskey
Resources for Media
- USDA-APHIS Feral Swine Flickr Page
- USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services Feral Swine in America Video Series
- USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services Feral Swine B-roll
- Squeal on Pigs! Media Graphics
- Squeal on Pigs! Mobile Application Graphics
- U.S. Feral Swine Distribution Maps
- Canadian Map (Aschim, R.A., Brook, R.K. Evaluating Cost-Effective Methods for Rapid and Repeatable National Scale Detection and Mapping of Invasive Species Spread. Sci Rep 9, 7254 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-43729-y)