Jabalí (Sp), Wildschwein (G), Sanglier (F). "Feral" implies a domestic animal or its descendant that is living in the wild, either having been released or escaped from confinement. Although a boar is actually a male pig or hog, the term is widely used as a common name for the species (Eurasian wild boar), and we use it here because females almost never grow tusks large enough to make the Record Book.
DESCRIPTION The feral boars in South America are a mix of feral pigs, feral pig x Eurasian wild boar hybrids, and any pure Eurasian wild boars that may still exist. Over time, feral pigs will take on more and more of the characteristics of their wild Eurasian forebears. Hybrids can exhibit a variety of characteristics, but many are almost indistinguishable from purebred Eurasian boars.
The Eurasian wild boar and its descendant, the domestic pig, are native to Europe and Asia south of about latitude 48°N and including many offshore islands, and to northern Africa. Domestic pigs were brought from Europe to many parts of South America, including the Juan Fernández islands off the coast of Chile, by Spanish and Portuguese colonists beginning in the 1500s. The common practice of allowing domestic pigs to forage free-range led quickly to feral populations that have since spread throughout most of the continent. Purebred European wild boars were introduced on private land in Argentina's La Pampa province in 1906, and later were introduced in Santa Catarina and Paraná provinces in Brazil, and perhaps elsewhere. By now it is probable that all purebred Eurasian boars have interbred with feral pigs.
DISTRIBUTION Nearly all of South America, except for southern parts of Chile and Argentina where winters are too cold for these animals.
REMARKS Free-ranging boars, whether purebred, feral or hybrid, are fine game animals that are widely hunted in South America for their meat and tusks. They are alert, wary and largely nocturnal, with acute hearing and sense of smell. They are difficult to hunt and can be dangerous at close quarters.