Date of this Version
Few studies have evaluated oral delivery systems of pharmaceuticals (e.g., vaccines, fertility control agents, and toxicants) to feral swine (Sus scrofa) in the United States. Our objective was to assess, through a field trial, the percentage of feral swine and non-target animals that remove and consume baits intended to transport pharmaceuticals to feral swine in southern Texas, USA. We hand-placed 1,178 iophenoxic acid (IA)–marked baits distributed over 1,721 ha (68 baits/km2) in April 2005 and monitored species-specific bait removal and consumption using track stations, automated camera systems, and serum IA values from captured animals. Ninety percent of baits were removed after 72 hours. For baits for which we determined the species that ‘‘definitely’’ or ‘‘likely’’ removed bait using track stations and cameras, 51% were taken by raccoons (Procyon lotor), 22% were taken by feral swine, and 20% were taken by collared peccaries (Tayassu tajacu). We found elevated serum IA values in 74% of trapped feral swine, 89% of raccoons, and 43% of opossums (Didelphis virginiana). Our oral delivery system was successful in marking a substantial proportion of feral swine. However, our observed removal rates suggest that the majority of the baits were taken by non-target species and, therefore, unsuitable for most pharmaceutical applications in their current form.