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Preventing wild boar "Sus scrofa" damage - considerations for wild boar management in highly fragmented agroecosystems

Schlageter, Adrian. Preventing wild boar "Sus scrofa" damage - considerations for wild boar management in highly fragmented agroecosystems. 2015, PhD Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Science.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/diss/DissB_11330

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Abstract

During the last three decades wild boar populations have grown rapidly and the range of the species has increased steadily, covering almost the whole European continent today. The huge spread of the wild boar and the high population densities pose major problems, particularly to agriculture. Wild boars cause considerable damage to fields and grassland, but also pose a potentially high threat to livestock, as carrier of the pathogen of the classical swine fever, which may be transmitted to domestic pigs and can cause huge losses. To prevent economic problems by high wild boar populations, an effective wild boar management has to be established. Besides the regulation of the populations by means of hunting, vulnerable crop fields have to be protected adequately. Crop protection is usually achieved by the use of electric fences. Alternatively, various methods are available that claim effective deterrence of wild boars, however, most of which lacking scientific proof of effectiveness.
This thesis, based on a field study conducted in the Canton Basel-Land, northwestern Switzerland, presents research results on the effectiveness of three different deterrent systems: solar-powered blinkers, an odour repellent, and a gustatory repellent. The aims of the study were: (1) to investigate three means to deter wild boars from agricultural land representative for other deterrents based on optic, olfactory, or gustatory effects; (2) to provide relevant and evidence-based data, which contribute to the policy and practice of wild boar management and damage prevention in the Canton Basel-Land, also applicable to other regions. I discussed the results in a broader context, also considering the role of hunting in damage prevention.
Solar blinkers and the odour repellent, which were investigated at baited luring sites, reduced the probability of wild boar visits by 8.1% and by 0.4% respectively. Both deterrents were not effective in preventing wild boars from accessing the lure food. Additionally, we did not find any initial deterrence effect. The gustatory repellent, which was investigated in experimental fields, did not have a significant effect on the frequency of damage events. Although we observed a slight trend towards a damage reduction, the results show, that the repellent was not able to prevent damage. We further could not detect any area avoidance by the wild boars as a response to the repellent.
The present study revealed, that none of the deterrents investigated was able to prevent wild boars from entering the experimental sites. Hence the deterrents in question are no effective means for field protection. Moreover, I suggest that any other deterrent basing on startling response, neophobia, fear-evocation, or conditioned avoidance would not be effective in preventing wild boars from entering agricultural land. To date, the only recommendable means for damage prevention is the electric fence, which should be taken into account by the responsible authorities. Based on the findings of the present study, farmers must be discouraged from the use of other deterrents than electric fences to protect their fields. Additionally, damage compensation should be subject to the condition of fencing of the fields.
Besides the protection of vulnerable crops the reduction of wild boar populations by means of hunting is crucial for damage prevention. Hunting rates have to be increased and hunting effort should focus on females of all age classes, but especially on juvenile females, which have shown to be highly reproductive and substantially contribute to population growth. For this purpose, selective hunting techniques like hide hunting and stalk hunting should be prioritised and promoted.
The highly reproductive wild boar possesses the ability to recover from population losses in a very short time. Hence, both effective hunting management and field protection will remain the most important tools for damage control. Further research is required to investigate and compare different wild boar management systems including also damage prevention under an economic perspective. Stakeholders like farmers, hunters, and authorities must be involved.
The omnivore wild boar is enabled to adapt to various environments. Wild boar populations are expected to increase further and to spread into areas not yet populated. In Switzerland, the spread into the central parts of the country will also be supported by additional wildlife crossings that are in construction or in process of planning which will pose a challenge for wildlife management in these regions.
Advisors:Tanner, Marcel
Committee Members:Haag-Wackernagel, Daniel and Odermatt, Peter
Faculties and Departments:03 Faculty of Medicine > Departement Public Health > Sozial- und Präventivmedizin > Malaria Vaccines (Tanner)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Health Interventions > Malaria Vaccines (Tanner)
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis no:11330
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Number of Pages:100 S.
Language:English
Identification Number:
Last Modified:30 Jun 2016 10:58
Deposited On:16 Sep 2015 14:22

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