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Movements of wild pigs in Louisiana and Mississippi, 2011-13

February 4, 2015

The prolific breeding capability, behavioral adaptation, and adverse environmental impacts of invasive wild pigs (Sus scrofa) have increased efforts towards managing their populations and understanding their movements. Currently, little is known about wild pig populations and movements in Louisiana and Mississippi. From 2011 to 2013, the U.S. Geological Survey investigated spatial and temporal movements of wild pigs in both marsh and nonmarsh physiographic regions. Twenty-one Global Positioning System satellite telemetry tracking collars were installed on adult wild pigs captured with trained dogs and released. Coordinates of their locations were recorded hourly. We collected 16,674 hourly data points including date, time, air temperature, and position during a 3-year study. Solar and lunar attributes, such as sun and moon phases and azimuth angles, were not related significantly to the movements among wild pigs. Movements were significantly correlated negatively with air temperature. Differences in movements between seasons and years were observed. On average, movements of boars were significantly greater than those of sows. Average home range, determined by using a minimum convex polygon as a proxy, was 911 hectares for boars, whereas average home range for sows was 116 hectares. Wild pigs in marsh habitat traveled lesser distances relative to those from more arid, nonmarsh habitats. Overall, results of this study indicate that wild pigs in Louisiana and Mississippi have small home ranges. These small home ranges suggest that natural movements have not been a major factor in the recent broad-scale range expansion observed in this species in the United States.

Publication Year 2015
Title Movements of wild pigs in Louisiana and Mississippi, 2011-13
DOI 10.3133/ofr20141241
Authors Stephen B. Hartley, Buddy L. Goatcher, Sijan Sapkota
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2014-1241
Index ID ofr20141241
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Wetlands Research Center