Date of this Version
Scientific Reports (2021) 11:6924
Elucidating correlations between wild pig (Sus scrofa) behavior and landscape attributes can aid in the advancement of management strategies for controlling populations. Using GPS data from 49 wild pigs in the southeastern U.S., we used hidden Markov models to define movement path characteristics and assign behaviors (e.g., resting, foraging, travelling). We then explored the connection between these behaviors and resource selection for both sexes between two distinct seasons based on forage availability (i.e., low forage, high forage). Females demonstrated a crepuscular activity pattern in the high-forage season and a variable pattern in the low-forage season, while males exhibited nocturnal activity patterns across both seasons. Wild pigs selected for bottomland hardwoods and dense canopy cover in all behavioral states in both seasons. Males selected for diversity in vegetation types while foraging in the low-forage season compared to the high-forage season and demonstrated an increased use of linear anthropogenic features across seasons while traveling. Wild pigs can establish populations and home ranges in an array of landscapes, but our results demonstrate male and female pigs exhibit clear differences in movement behavior and there are key resources associated with common behaviors that can be targeted to improve the efficiency of management programs.
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