NATHAN P. SNOW http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5171-6493
MICHAEL J. LAVELLE http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2766-5673
Date of this Version
Wildlife Society Bulletin 45(1):109–120; 2021
Toxic baiting of wild pigs (Sus scrofa) is a potential new tool for population control and damage reduction in the United States. Use of toxic bait sites by non‐target species is concerning because of the risks posed from exposure to a toxic bait. A 2018 field trial in northern Texas, USA, examining the efficacy of a prototype toxic bait (HOGGONE®, containing 10% sodium nitrite) revealed unexpected hazards to non‐target species, primarily passerine birds, from consuming toxic bait spilled outside of bait stations by wild pigs. The hazards jeopardize the ability to register HOGGONE as a tool for controlling wild pigs. We conducted a post hoc analysis from that 2018 trial to identify how daily and landscape factors influenced the use of bait sites by non‐target species, and subsequent hazards from consuming the toxic bait. We discovered that no single strategy can eliminate visitations by all non‐target species, but offering the toxic bait at night, in wild‐pig specific bait stations, and in more homogeneous landscapes appeared to be the best strategy for minimizing visits by passerine birds. We also found that use of bait sites by wild pigs were temporally clustered, and more pigs visited bait sites along linear features of the landscape (e.g., agricultural edges or riparian corridors). We recommend a baiting strategy where applicators do not place bait stations directly at sites where remnant particles of grain (from prebaiting) are available on the ground.
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