B.C. wildlife official goes hog wild over imaginary wild hogs

Hunters in the market for free bacon are out of luck.

Hunters in the market for free bacon are out of luck.

There are no wild pigs in Liard Hotsprings Provincial Park, park manager Belinda Clark said June 26.

A memo from the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources published June 21 said a feral pig which had “appeared to have been killed by a bear” had been found “dead in the bush” by a ranger near the park. But the memo wasn’t true, said Clark.

“There are no wild pigs in (the park),” Clark said. “It was a complete misunderstanding and the result of a miscommunication.”

Clark said a park ranger found the remains of the pig, which was not actually living wild in the area but had been being used as bait by an Alberta-based outfitter. Clark said she didn’t know what animal the outfitter was baiting — or whether using wild pigs as bait is legal in British Columbia — but that it may have been wolves.

The memo was posted to the North Peace Rod and Gun Club and called on hunters to shoot wild pigs “on sight” as they are Class C wildlife with no closed season, and are considered invasive and damaging to the environment.

“It would be greatly appreciated if you would help in the initiative to ensure that no pig populations are able to establish themselves in the Northeast. The meat is edible,” the memo reads. “If you sight any pigs in the wild, and are able to kill it please do. In all pig sighting cases please contact us to report the details and location of the sighting or kill.”

The memo also appeared as the main source in an article June 22 in Alaska Highway News entitled “Hunters encouraged to shoot wild pigs.”

Both memo and article appeared with the same unsourced photograph depicting a feral pig’s severed head, eyes agog and tusks prominently displayed.

The memo’s author, Katelyn White, a spokesperson for the ministry’s fish and wildlife section, did not respond to several interview requests by deadline.

As there are no actual wild pigs in the area, Clark urged hunters not to go out looking for wild pigs to shoot.

“Who knows what else is going to get shot?” she said.

Contact Lori Garrison at lori.garrison@yukon-news.com

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