Date of this Version
Preventive Veterinary Medicine 104 (2012) 249– 257; doi:10.1016/j.prevetmed.2012.01.001
We studied the effects of baiting on feral swine (Sus scrofa) movements and corresponding likelihood of disease spread under real and simulated culling pressure. Our objectives were to determine the proportion of feral swine that used the bait station site, and if baiting of feral swine altered areas of utilization, distances from location centroids to treatment location (control or bait station), and movement rates by survivors during culling activities. We hypothesized that the bait station would increase the sedentary nature of feral swine, thus reducing the potential for dispersal and hence disease dispersal. Our experiment was conducted between February and May 2011 on the Rob and Bessie Welder Wildlife Foundation (WWF) in San Patricio County, Texas. We trapped 83 feral swine and placed GPS collars on 21 animals. We established and maintained a centralized bait station on one side of the WWF from 13 March to 27 April. We conducted population-wide culling activities, including trapping, controlled shooting, drive shooting, and aerial gunning, from 3 to 27 April and removed 143 feral swine (4.6 feral swine/km2). Areas of utilization did not differ between treatments (control or bait station). However, we found location centroids of bait station site feral swine to be closer to the treatment location than those of control site animals and daily movement rates of bait station site feral swine to be 39% greater than movement rates of control site animals. Based on our observation that only 62% of feral swine trapped in proximity to the bait station used it, we cannot recommend baiting as an alternative to fences for containing animals during culling activities. However, there is value in using bait stations to describe patterns of feral swine movements, facilitate observation, and improve efficacy when conducting removals.