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Reproduction in a population of wild pigs (Sus scrofa) subjected to lethal control


  • Associate Editor: Michael Chamberlain.


The continued range expansion of wild pigs (Sus scrofa) in North America is an increasing cause for concern because of the numerous negative impacts that wild pigs have on ecosystem structure and function. Once populations are established, wild pigs have proven to be extremely difficult to control, and close to impossible to eradicate. If effective control and removal techniques are to be developed, we must determine if wild pig populations respond to reductions in density by increasing reproductive output. This study was designed to examine if reproductive parameters of female wild pigs display a density-dependent response following a concentrated removal effort. We compared reproductive parameters and condition of adult sows that were collected between a control area and a treatment area where lethal removal occurred. From August 2004 to May 2006, we focused a concentrated removal effort within the treatment area. Although the population density was more than 65% greater in the control area than the treatment area during the study, we did not detect differences between areas for condition, litter size, ovarian mass, corpus luteum mass, or corpora lutea number. Several years of heavy mast production during the study may have negated any effect on condition and subsequent reproduction between the 2 study areas. These data suggest that reproductive parameters of wild pigs do not exhibit density-dependence during periods when pig populations are in good condition. © 2012 The Wildlife Society.