Date of this Version
Pest Management Science (2023) 79: 4,765-4,773
As the population and range of wild pigs (Sus scrofa) continue to grow across North America, there has been an increase in environmental and economic damages caused by this invasive species, and control efforts to reduce damages have increased concomitantly. Despite the expanding impacts and costs associated with population control of wild pigs, the extent to which wild pig control reduces populations and diminishes environmental and agricultural damages are rarely quantified.The goal of this study is to quantify changes in wild pig relative abundance and subsequent changes in damages caused by invasive wild pigs in response to control.
Using a combination of wild pig population surveys, agricultural damage assessments, and environmental rooting surveys across 19 mixed forest-agricultural properties in South Carolina, United States, we quantified changes in wild pig relative abundance and associated damages over a 3-year period following implementation of a professional control program. Following implementation of control efforts, both the number of wild pig detections and estimated abundance decreased markedly. Within 24 months relative abundance was reduced by an average of ∼70%, which resulted in a corresponding decline in environmental rooting damage by ∼99%.
Our findings suggest that sustained wild pig control efforts can substantially reduce wild pig relative abundance,which in turn resulted in a reduction in environmental rooting damage by wild pigs. Ultimately this study will help fill critical knowledge gaps regarding the efficacy of wild pig control programs and the effort needed to reduce impacts to native ecosystems, livestock, and crops.
Natural Resources and Conservation Commons, Natural Resources Management and Policy Commons, Other Environmental Sciences Commons, Other Veterinary Medicine Commons, Population Biology Commons, Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology Commons, Veterinary Infectious Diseases Commons, Veterinary Microbiology and Immunobiology Commons, Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Epidemiology, and Public Health Commons, Zoology Commons