Publication details

Floodplain forest as an ideal environment for the reproduction of wild boar?



Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source European Journal of Wildlife Research
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Sus scrofa; Piglets; Litter size; Floodplain forest; Floods
Description Floodplain forests provide a highly suitable environment for wild boar, especially because they offer a sufficient quantity of good-quality food across the seasons. Combined with year-round additional feeding and treatment, wild boar enjoy ideal living conditions in floodplain forests, which should have a positive effect on reproduction and, in turn, an increase in population. We expected the high carrying capacity of the floodplain forest environment to be reflected in young boar showing greater body weight and have a higher layer of subcutaneous fat, young females being in their first heat earlier, and females of all ages having more young. This was verified on a sample of wild boar females collected in Czechia's largest floodplain forest, which extends above the confluence of the Morava and Dyje Rivers and which is fenced off and used for breeding hoofed ruminant mammals. In addition to determining body characteristics and examining reproductive tracts, food quality was also analysed based on an analysis of stomach contents. Body and reproductive characteristics were compared with available data for the South Moravia. It has been confirmed that, in the floodplain forest, wild boar have a sufficient quantity of good-quality food all year round, yet they reach a smaller body size across all age classes. Piglets ovulated more eggs, while in contrast older females ovulated fewer. That is also why they gave birth to fewer piglets per litter. Wild boar in the floodplain forest gave birth later, with a birthing peak in May-June. This delay can be explained by the adaptation of wild boar populations in floodplain forests to the annual floods that come in March. We estimate that wild boar are able to respond flexibly not only to the food conditions of their environment, but also to the risk of possible mortality and other significant stressors, and to adapt their reproductive strategy accordingly.

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