Date of this Version
Clontz, L.M., A. Yang, S.M. Chinn, K.M. Pepin, K.C. VerCauteren, G. Wittemyer, R.S. Miller, and J.C. Beasley. 2023. Role of social structure in establishment of an invasive large mammal after translocation. Pest Management Science 79(10):3819-3829. doi: 10.1002/ps.7567
Data on the movement behavior of translocated wild pigs is needed to develop appropriate response strategies for containing and eliminating new source populations following translocation events. We conducted experimental trials to compare the home range establishment and space-use metrics, including the number of days and distance traveled before becoming range residents, for wild pigs translocated with their social group and individually.
We found wild pigs translocated with their social group made less extensive movements away from the release location and established a stable home range ~5 days faster than those translocated individually. We also examined how habitat quality impacted the home range sizes of translocated wild pigs and found wild pigs maintained larger ranges in areas with higher proportion of low-quality habitat.
Collectively, our findings suggest translocations of invasive wild pigs have a greater probability of establishing a viable population near the release site when habitat quality is high and when released with members of their social unit compared to individuals moved independent of their social group or to low-quality habitat. However, all wild pigs translocated in our study made extensive movements from their release location, highlighting the potential for single translocation events of either individuals or groups to have far-reaching consequences within a much broader landscape beyond the location where they are released. These results highlight the challenges associated with containing populations in areas where illegal introduction of wild pigs occurs, and the need for rapid response once releases are identified.
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