News & Updates

Invasive Wild Pigs: RDAR Invests in Protecting Alberta Against Threats to Crops and Livestock

March 14, 2022
Photo Supplied by: Alberta Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development

March 13, 2022 (Edmonton, Alberta) – RDAR (Results Driven Agriculture Research) has invested $432,000 in a transdisciplinary research project to study Invasive wild pigs and the potential spread of infectious diseases across Alberta. The expansive research team, led by University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine professor Dr. Matthieu Pruvot, includes researchers from Alberta Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development (AFRED), the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and industry partners from Alberta Pork and Alberta Beef Producers.

Alberta Pork selected this project as their top research priority and will focus on three main objectives:

1) Use wild pig monitoring data to understand wild pig distributions, population dynamics and spread across Alberta, and the potential of wild pigs to facilitate disease spread between previously isolated epidemiological systems.

2) Characterize intra and inter-species contact structure between wild pigs and livestock (beef cattle and domestic pigs) through wildlife monitoring and engagement with producers.

3) Increase surveillance in wild pigs to better understand pathogen transmission among wild pigs and between wild pigs and livestock.

RDAR will fund $432,000 of the total project cost of $973,240. RDAR funds will be drawn from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) and AFRED.

“It is vital that we mitigate the risks of the expanding population of wild pigs. From an animal health perspective, ensuring continued preparedness for pathogen introduction or emergence is essential to protect the livestock industries from biosecurity threats, to maintain disease-free status requirements for live animal and meat product exports, and thereby, to secure economic opportunities for producers.”

Dr. David Chalack, DVM, RDAR Chair

Wild pigs are an invasive species in Alberta and an agricultural pest when at large. Under the Agricultural Pests Act, landowners must control or destroy pests and prevent them from becoming established on their land.

“The breadth of the project and the producer, private, public partnership is impressive; the work integrates regional to international groups of scientists, federal and provincial governments, and the Pork and Beef Producer industries. While disease is the key emphasis of this proposal, I believe the information gathered will help address broader natural resource issues because of the influence that invasive wild pigs have on agricultural lands and ecosystems.”

Dr. Mark Redmond, Ph.D., RDAR CEO

To learn more about RDAR research projects, please visit rdar.ca/research.

To learn more about invasive species and their effect on biodiversity, listen to the Anthropomania podcast, Episode 4: Aliens Among Us. RDAR is proud to co-produce this podcast, available through your favorite podcast service. 

About RDAR
RDAR’s mandate is to target strategic investments in producer-led, results-driven agriculture research to power the competitiveness, profitability, productivity and sustainability of Agriculture in Alberta. As a not-for-profit corporation, RDAR’s funding comes from the Government of Alberta, the Government of Canada, and Alberta’s Government through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership program. rdar.ca

About the Canadian Agricultural Partnership
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion investment by Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial governments to strengthen and grow Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sectors. This commitment includes $2 billion for programs cost-shared by the federal and provincial/territorial governments, with the programs designed and delivered by provinces and territories.

RDAR Media Inquiries:
Mark Redmond
Chief Executive Officer
Results Driven Agriculture Research
780-718-0576
mark.redmond@rdar.ca