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Wild boar visits to commercial pig farms in southwest England: implications for interspecies disease transmission

Anthony James Bacigalupo, Sonny; Dixon, Linda; Gubbins, Simon; Kucharski, Adam; Drewe, Julian

Authors

Sonny Anthony James Bacigalupo

Linda Dixon

Simon Gubbins

Adam Kucharski

Julian Drewe



Abstract

Contact between wild animals and farmed livestock may result in disease transmission with huge financial, welfare and ethical consequences. Conflicts between people and wildlife can also arise when species such as wild boar (Sus scrofa) consume crops or dig up pasture. This is a relatively recent problem in England where wild boar populations have become re-established in the last 20 years following a 500-year absence. The aim of this study was to determine how often free-living wild boar visited two commercial pig farms near the Forest of Dean in southwest England. We placed 20 motion-sensitive camera traps at potential entry points to, and trails surrounding, the perimeter of two farmyards housing domestic pigs between August 2019 and February 2021, covering a total of 6030 trap-nights. Forty wild boar visits were recorded on one farm spread across 27 nights, with a median (range) of 1 (0 to 7) visit per calendar month. No wild boar were detected at the other farm. These results confirm wild boar do visit commercial pig farms and therefore there is potential for contact and pathogen exchange between wild boar and domestic pigs. The visitation rates derived from this study could be used to parameterise disease transmission models of pathogens common to domestic pigs and wild boar, such as African swine fever virus, and subsequently to develop mitigation strategies to reduce unwanted contacts.

Citation

Anthony James Bacigalupo, S., Dixon, L., Gubbins, S., Kucharski, A., & Drewe, J. (2022). Wild boar visits to commercial pig farms in southwest England: implications for interspecies disease transmission. European Journal of Wildlife Research, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-022-01618-2

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 23, 2022
Online Publication Date Oct 4, 2022
Publication Date Oct 4, 2022
Deposit Date Nov 2, 2021
Publicly Available Date Dec 14, 2022
Print ISSN 1612-4642
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-022-01618-2

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