Name: Wild Boar
Scientific Name: Sus scrofa
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Captain Cook's liberation of pigs (Sus scrofa) in New Zealand, while not the earliest release, was probably the first successful release. Wild black pigs became known as Captain Cookers.
They are today widespread throughout New Zealand though noticeably absent from a few areas. There are now, however, a variety of shapes and colours in wild pig populations due to the influence of many domestic breeds.
One characteristic by which domestic breed and wild animals are differentiated is coats. Wild animals almost always have thick, short bristly coats ranging in colour from brown through grey to black. A prominent ridge of hair matching the spine is also common, giving rise to the name razorback in the southern United States. The tail is usually short and straight. Wild animals tend also to have longer legs than domestic breeds and a longer and narrower head and snout. Trophy hunting in New Zealand is based around the hunt, the size of the boar, and the length and mass of a boars tusks that can grow in excess of 3 inches out of the jaw on big mature boars.
Currently wild boars are hunted both for their meat and to mitigate the damage they cause to crops and forests. Generally dogs are used, to track and subdue their quarry, which is then dispatched using a knife, rifle or bow. In several countries such hunting is a popular recreation, known as "pig hunting" in Australia and New Zealand, and "hog hunting" in the South of the United States. But be forewarned: it requires great stamina to run up and down the mountains after the dogs. Once contained by the dogs, the hunter finishes the pursuit with a camera, knife or gun. Brave Kiwis prefer using a knife! New Zealand Safaris can organize a guided hunting trip with dogs, or as typically happens we can run into them while out hunting different species like red deer or fallow deer.
New Zealand has a large population of pigs, a combination of feral, Russians and blues.
Wild boars can reach up to 440+ lb (200+ kg) for adult males, and can be up to 6 feet (1.8 m) long.
If surprised or cornered they may become aggressive - particularly a sow with her piglets - and if attacked will defend themselves vigorously with their tusks.