Crop land, golf courses, lawns: none are safe from feral hogs that Montana livestock officials say are poised to invade the state. Officials received reports several months ago that wild Canadian pigs were merely 6 miles from the Montana border.
Tahnee Szymanski with the state Department of Livestock says the invasive animal species could pose significant problems for Montana’s agriculture sector.
“They have tremendous destructive capabilities. They will root into any sort of ground cover. They are predatory in nature. They carry a whole host of diseases that could potentially spread to other livestock species and to people," she says.
The state Legislature made feral hogs a prohibited species in 2015. Since then, numbers from a University of Saskatchewan study indicate growing populations in the Canadian province.
The Livestock Department has been working with state Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the federal Wildlife Services to aerially surveil the northern border for swine. To Szymanski’s knowledge, none have crossed into Montana yet.
But she says that could happen “at any time.” Szymanski says Wildlife Services will kill any encroaching hogs.
Montana residents who spot one are encouraged to call (406)444-2976 and “squeal on the pigs.”