UPDATE: The owner of a pet pig says it is home safe, and is not a wild boar pictured in story.
ORIGINAL STORY: With his dog Mika at his side, Eric Dugas returned to the trail off Nanoose’s Northwest Bay Logging Road where he got a wild surprise on Monday.
“I was mountain biking on this trail here and I came across this wild pig that has tusks and I was about 150 feet or about 50 metres away,” said Dugas, who lives in Nanoose Bay.
The encounter happened on Dec. 12 at around 3 p.m. on a trail that’s been named “Stumpy” by local outdoors enthusiasts and is part of a popular charted trail area, on Mosaic-owned land.
According to Dugas, his dog immediately started barking, something he said she never does. He said that as the pig proceeded to turn and face them, it showed no fear of them as he stood stunned at what he was seeing.
“I was more curious at the beginning you know, like ‘what is this?’ And I wanted to approach it a bit more, then I thought ‘no that’s it’ as soon as I saw the tusks,” said Dugas, who photographed his encounter with the animal.
According to the BC Conservation Officer Service, it is the first reported sighting of a wild boar in the area, but the problems feral pigs have caused in Cowichan are substantial. This past summer, a large number of wild pigs tore up a golf course, as officials tried to capture the invasive species there.
Cyclist Rob Cottrell, who is one of many who use the trails that the pig was seen in, said hearing about such an animal on the trail is news to him.
“There’s a lot of people on these trails and people with horses,” said Cottrell, later adding. “Hearing about a wild pig, yeah that’s definitely different for me.”
“I’ll just make sure I have a stick with me, a good strong stick,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dugas wonders if the pig escaped from a farm, or is part of a larger group by now. As an avid trail user, he urges others to be prepared now for what he never expected to find in the woods.
“It could be a problem for everybody, you know farms and how they can destroy things yes,” said Dugas.