Date of this Version
Crop Protection 163 (2023) 106119
Wild pigs (Sus scrofa) are one of the most successful invasive species globally and are often implicated in agricultural damage. This damage is expected to increase as ranges of wild pigs expand, impacting the human food supply and increasing costs of food production. Our objective was to evaluate movement behaviors of wild pigs relative to resource availability and landscape features in an agriculture-dominated landscape, with a goal of informing management practices for reducing damage to corn. We monitored hourly movements of adult wild pigs relative to corn crops using GPS collars during the 2019 and 2020 growing seasons (Feb–Sept) in Delta County, Texas, USA. We generated movement metrics, home ranges for space-use analyses, and step selection functions to quantify selection for land cover types and landscape composition for each growth stage (i.e., preplanting, establishment, vegetative, blister–milk, and dent–mature) and sex of wild pigs. We found that space-use and resource selection by wild pigs was dependent on corn growth stages and landscape composition, with more use as corn matured in fields closer to wooded areas. Most of the pigs had movement patterns that were categorized as residents with site fidelity near corn fields, yet some did make long-distance movements to select for corn. These results suggest that preventing damage is most important during the later stages of growth. If lethal control is not as effective or efficient before or during later growth stages of corn, managers should consider nonlethal methods, such as fencing to account for wild pigs that travel from afar, especially if corn fields are located near landcovers used as shelter for wild pigs.
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