An essential component of management efforts to control invasive species is the estimate of life history parameters, such as reproductive rate and litter size. Wild pigs (Sus scrofa), one of the most invasive terrestrial mammals worldwide, have recently become established on the Canadian prairies. We estimated life history traits in a population of wild pigs in Saskatchewan, Canada, at the current northern limit of their North American distribution. The average pregnant wild pig weighed 73.8 kg (46 – 130 kg; n = 7). Fifty-four percent of females ≥46 kg were pregnant in Feb., with an average of 5.6 fetuses per pregnant female (range 4 – 7; n = 7). Although small sample sizes precluded statistical significance, we found that larger females in better body condition tended to have more fetuses and that the sex ratio of fetuses tended to be female-biased. Based on the cohort that we sampled in Feb., we predicted parturition would occur between Feb. and May; this range of parturition dates may have been wider had we sampled wild pigs at other times of the year. We show that the number of fetuses of wild pigs in Saskatchewan is similar to other areas, suggesting that population growth and spread could be just as rapid. Our estimates represent the first empirical life history measures of wild pigs in Canada and are an essential step in developing science-based eradication plans for this highly invasive species.
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Vol. 179 • No. 2