Eurasian boar are native to Europe and Asia. Also known as Russian boar, wild boar, wild hog, razorback, or feral swine, invasive Eurasian boar are new to the New York landscape, represent a great threat to New York and have the potential to become permanently established if action is not taken immediately.
Why Are Eurasian Boars a Problem?
Eurasian boars are a highly adaptable, destructive, non-native, invasive species. The primary source of Eurasian boar in New York appears to be escaped or released boars from enclosed shooting facilities, breeding facilities, or animal sanctuaries. DEC's goal is to prevent and eradicate Eurasian boars from New York's landscape. Eurasian boars in New York can have tremendous negative impacts on native plants, native wildlife, livestock, agriculture, and humans including:
- Eurasian boars eat hard mast (acorns and other nuts) and directly compete with deer, bear, turkey, squirrel and waterfowl for food.
- Eurasian boars consume the nests and eggs of ground nesting birds and reptiles.
- Eurasian boars will kill and eat fawns and young domestic livestock.
- Eurasian boars will eat almost any agricultural crop as well as tree seeds and seedlings.
- Their rooting and wallowing habits destroy crops and native vegetation, cause erosion, and negatively affect water quality. Every Eurasian boar in the wild is estimated to destroy 11 acres of wetland in its lifetime.
- Eurasian boars have razor sharp tusks and have been known to be aggressive toward humans and their pets.
- Eurasian boars carry and can transmit several serious diseases including swine brucellosis, E. coli, trichinosis, and pseudorabies to livestock and /or humans. Some of these diseases, if introduced to domestic swine, can decimate the pork industry and could result in New York losing the ability to ship pigs or pork products to other states.
Eurasian boars (scientific name: Sus scrofa linnaeus) usually appear hairy. They are most often dark black or brown, often grizzled with gray. Piglets are lighter in color with brown and tan stripes. The stripes disappear as they get older and darker in color. Unlike most domestic, farm pigs (scientific name: Sus scrofa domestica), Eurasian boars usually have a long straight narrow snout, a long straight tail with a tuft at the end and erect hairy ears. Some have a "mane" of hair that stands up along ridge of their back ("razorback"). Most have large, prominent tusks.
Eurasian boars are highly adaptable and prolific. If weather is good and food is plentiful, Eurasian boars can breed as early as 6 months of age. They can breed several times a year and their litter size can range from 2-8, although litters as large as 10-12 have been reported. A Eurasian boar population can double in one year.
What You Can Do
If you see Eurasian boars, please report them to the nearest DEC regional wildlife office or e-mail us. Since it is sometimes difficult to distinguish a domestic pig, pot belly pig or Eurasian boar based solely on a description, reporting of all free roaming swine is encouraged. Please report the number of animals seen or killed, whether any of them were piglets, the date, and the exact location (county, town, distance and direction from an intersection, nearest landmark, etc.). Photographs are greatly appreciated as they help us determine if it is a Eurasian boar, so please try and get a picture and include it with your report.
Eurasian Boars Prohibited In New York
A new law was passed on October 21, 2013 that immediately made it illegal to import, breed or release Eurasian boars in New York. In addition, after September 1, 2015, it will be illegal to possess, sell, distribute, trade or transport Eurasian boars in New York. You can find a link to the new Eurasian Boar Law in the right column under "Links Leaving DEC's Website".
Questions and Answers
Q. Can I hunt Eurasian boars in NY?
A. Any person with a small game hunting license can take Eurasian boars at any time and in any number. This may change soon due to pending Department regulations that will make it illegal to hunt free-ranging Eurasian boars in the wild in NY. Keep checking this DEC web page for updates.
Q. I own a pot belly pig. Can I still keep it?
A. Yes, you can keep your pet pot belly pig. The law only regulates Eurasian boars and their hybrids and does not regulate domestic pigs possessed for meat production or as pets.
Q. I rescued a Eurasian boar from a game farm. Can I keep it on my farm?
A. You cannot breed the Eurasian boar or release it to the wild, but you can legally keep it until September 1, 2015. After that date it will be illegal to possess any Eurasian boar or hybrid of a Eurasian boar.
Q. I saw a dark-colored pig that I think might be a Eurasian boar. What should I do?
A. Report any animal that you think might be a Eurasian boar to the nearest DEC regional wildlife office or e-mail us. Try to get a picture of the animal and include it with your report. Let us know how many you saw and the exact location (county, town, distance and direction from an intersection, nearest landmark, etc.). Include a description of the animal such as the color, whether it looked very "hairy" or had sparse hair, whether the snout looked short, turned up, long or straight, and about how big it was.
Q. What if I still own Eurasian boars after September 1, 2015?
A. That would be a violation of the law and for the first or second violation you can be fined up to $500 per animal in your possession or for any boars imported, sold, offered for sale, traded or transported. Subsequent violations of the law will result in a fine of $1,000 for each animal for each act or an amount equal to three times the value of the animal as meat production, breeding stock, or shooting stock.