Wild boars seized in West Bay raid

Andrew
Andrew Wagstaff
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WEST BAY Allan Wheaton wants his wild boars back, or he wants compensated for them.

The West Bay man purchased 10 of the animals last month, with hopes of farming them for meat. That plan was dashed, or at least put on hold on July 12, when 10 officers from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) arrived at his doorstep.

At the end of the day the officers had seized nine of his animals and were planning to come back and try to catch the 10th, which is still loose in his compound. Meanwhile, Wheaton has been charged with illegally importing an exotic animal, charges he plans to fight in court.

A pigs not exotic to me, he

WEST BAY Allan Wheaton wants his wild boars back, or he wants compensated for them.

The West Bay man purchased 10 of the animals last month, with hopes of farming them for meat. That plan was dashed, or at least put on hold on July 12, when 10 officers from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) arrived at his doorstep.

At the end of the day the officers had seized nine of his animals and were planning to come back and try to catch the 10th, which is still loose in his compound. Meanwhile, Wheaton has been charged with illegally importing an exotic animal, charges he plans to fight in court.

A pigs not exotic to me, he said. Unless were talking about Miss Piggy.

In all seriousness, Wheaton began planning for this project back in January, and carefully read over the Wild Game Farm Act, which he said permits him to raise the animals if he meets certain requirements such as veterinarians certificates, records of birth, and a secure compound, all of which he had done.

Although DNR officer Barry Sabean had told him prior to purchasing the animals that he was not allowed to have them, he went ahead with it feeling secure that he was following the law.

I read the act and my lawyer read the act, said Wheaton, who participated with the officers 100 per cent during the recent seizure. The department of natural resources has no mandate to stop it.

He said he feels the department officials were trying to stall his application process because there is an effort afoot to have wild boars removed from the list of wild game farm animals, a list that also includes bison, ostrich and emus. The minister took four months to reply to his letter on the matter, claiming wild boars could ruin the local habitat for other species if they escape, and could be a danger to humans.

The habitats already ruined by clear cutting, said Wheaton, and all wild animals can be a danger to humans. I think the department of natural resources is trying to treat me the way Stephen Harper is treating Nova Scotians theyre trying to change the rules midstream.

He chose to take the route he did to force the issue.

Wheaton had neither a permit to import the animals into Nova Scotia nor a farm gaming permit and therefore had the wild boars illegally in the province, according to Chris Ball, one of the DNR conservation officers who was at the scene.

Wild boars are aggressive by nature and have a history of escaping enclosures, according to Ball, who said there are now free ranging populations in Saskatchewan and Manitoba due to the animals having escaped enclosures there.

Theyre very hard to keep in enclosures, he said. Even a domestic pig will dig through barn boards. Most domestic pig farmers have them on cement because of that.

They are prolific reproducers, and can cause extensive damage to a habitat because they are foragers, he explained. They are also omnivores, and could pose a danger to other wildlife species and even domestic pets and humans, according to Ball.

After tasting wild boar a few years ago during a trip to Portugal, Wheatons interest in the animal was piqued. He hunted them in Texas, and visited a wild boar ranch that has been operating in Alberta for 17 years. His research into the subject also revealed similar operations in Quebec and New Brunswick.

Semi-retired, he decided he wanted to raise the animals because of their low maintenance, and thought he could make a few dollars to pay the bills. He bought 10 castrated males that were about 12 weeks old, each weighing about 20-30 lbs. Full-grown wild boars can reach weights of more than 300 lbs.

The animals were taken to the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park.

Wheaton is now awaiting his court date on Aug. 8, during which he plans to enter a not guilty plea.

Organizations: Department of Natural Resources

Geographic location: West Bay, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan Manitoba Portugal Wheatons Texas Alberta Quebec New Brunswick Shubenacadie Wildlife Park

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