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Keywords:

  • contact;
  • disease;
  • domestic swine;
  • feral swine;
  • GPS collar;
  • habitat use;
  • Sus scrofa;
  • Texas

Abstract

Feral swine (Sus scrofa), a successful invasive species in the United States, have established growing populations in 38 states and are a reservoir of diseases important to domestic swine. An understanding of habitat use and movements is important for the prevention of disease transmission between feral and domestic swine. To assess risk posed to neighboring domestic swine facilities in East and South Texas, we determined habitat use and movement patterns of feral swine within 10 miles of domestic swine facilities, identified similarities in habitat preferences and vegetation types directly surrounding facilities, assessed effects of wet and dry conditions on general habitat use, and determined whether landscape features such as corridors or boundaries influenced movements across utilized habitats. Kernel area values (95% isopleths) for wet and dry periods were different (F2,16 = 6.38, P = 0.005) between East and South Texas. Feral swine preferred habitat characteristics commonly found surrounding domestic swine facilities. Feral swine also demonstrated disproportionate use of specific vegetation types as compared to availability during both wet and dry periods. Additionally, the presence of paved, 2-lane roads influenced movements of feral swine. The new knowledge of habitat use and landscape movements we present can be used for more efficient application of targeted management and eradication strategies near domestic swine facilities, particularly in emergency situations such as disease outbreaks. Published 2012. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.