GREAT FALLS — Responding to the potential threat of feral swine entering the state, the Montana Department of Livestock, along with the Montana Invasive Species Council and USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services, will host a feral swine summit on November 15 in Billings.
A press release from the Montana Department of Livestock says key stakeholders from Canada and the region will attend to address the following goals and intended outcomes:
- Provide education regarding Montana's regulations pertaining to feral swine
- Launch Montana'sSqueal on Pigs education and outreach campaign
- Engage neighboring states/provinces and partners to improve coordination of feral swine management to prevent introduction in Montana
- Identify consensus and next steps on implementing a coordinated monitoring strategy
“While feral swine are not yet in Montana, we are aware of their expanding range in Saskatchewan and recent reports of sightings of feral swine along Montana’s northern border,” said Tahnee Szymanski, Assistant State Veterinarian at the department of Livestock, “In coordination with our partners, we are working hard to prevent their introduction.”
For more information, call the agency at 406.444.0547, or click here to visit the website.
(SEPTEMBER 26, 2019) Montana is preparing for another invasive species - feral hogs.
Tahnee Szymanski of the Montana Department of Agriculture explained, "For feral swine in Montana there’s two ways we are concerned about them coming into the state. One is walking in, because of their presence in an adjacent state or Canadian province. The second is coming in via trailer."
Introduced from Europe, wild pigs have spread to 38 states and several Canadian provinces, with a recent report just north of Montana’s border, making them a highly adaptive animal that Montana wants to keep out.
Szymanski said, "They are very close. Over the last couple of years, we have worked with wildlife services to go out in these remote areas where we have reports of them and do surveillance and then the plan from there is to try and eradicate them as quickly as possible."
These measures are meant to prevent feral pigs from spreading disease and causing havoc on Montana’s farmlands and native range.
Szymanski said, "When they root, they can really tear up lawns, golf courses, riparian areas. They can be predatory, so they can have an impact on small ground nesting birds. They can destroy crops, so there’s kind of a wide swath of agriculture industry here in Montana that we worry about with their introduction.
Montana law prohibits the transportation, possession, and/or hunting of feral swine in the state. Officials ask if you see a wild pig to report it immediately.
Szymanski said, "We’ve developed this 'Squeal On Pigs' program, so that they are aware if you see pigs that you should be reporting them."