Province seeks input into wild pig strategy and updates to Invasive Species Act

TORONTO — The provincial government is seeking feedback from stakeholders, Indigenous communities, and the public on two proposals on the Environmental Registry of Ontario. The first proposal outlines the new rules under the Invasive Species Act, 2015 that would regulate 13 invasive species. It builds on existing recommendations and practices to prevent the introduction and further spread of aquatic invasive species into Ontario’s lakes and rivers.

The list of invasive space includes marbled crayfish, tench, the New Zealand mud snail,  European Frog-bit, Yellow Floating Heart, Prussian Carp, the Red Swamp Crayfish, Fanwort, Bohemian Knotweed, Giant Knotweed, Himalayan Knotweed, and the Mountain Pine Beetle.

The ministry is also seeking input through a second posting on a strategy entitled Ontario’s Strategy to Address the Threat of Invasive Wild Pigs. In jurisdictions where wild pigs have become established, they have had significant impacts on the environment and the agricultural industry. Invasive wild pigs have been called an ‘ecological train wreck’ due to trampling, wallowing, and rooting in sensitive habitats.

“Our government recognizes that invasive species pose a real threat to Ontario’s environment and economy,” said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “The proposed rules under the Invasive Species Act would establish several new safeguards against the plants, fish, and animals threatening Ontario’s biodiversity and socio-economic well-being.”

Researchers have identified over 31 locations in southern and eastern Ontario where wild pigs have been reported. Under the current legislation, wild pigs are defined as any pig living outside of a fence for which ownership can’t be determined, including the Eurasian wild boar, domestic pigs, pot-bellied pigs, and hybrids. Many pig sightings are attributed to escaped livestock, according to scientists from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

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