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Landscape effects on wild boar home range size under contrasting harvest regimes in a human-dominated agro-ecosystem
- Fattebert, Julien, Baubet, Eric, Slotow, Rob, Fischer, Claude
- European journal of wildlife research 2017 v.63 no.2 pp. 32
- Sus scrofa, agroecosystems, basins, crop damage, harvesting, home range, human-wildlife relations, landscapes, models, seasonal variation, wild boars, Europe
- Agro-ecosystems can experience elevated human-wildlife conflicts, especially crop damage. While game management often aims at reducing number to mitigate conflicts, there is on-going debate about the role of hunting disturbance in promoting game to range over wider areas, thereby potentially exacerbating conflicts. Herein, we hypothesised that landscape configuration and non-lethal disturbance modulate the response to harvest disturbance. We used an information theoretic approach to test the effects of landscape and anthropogenic variables on wild boar ranging patterns across contrasting harvest regimes. We used 164 seasonal home ranges from 95 wild boar (Sus scrofa) radio-tracked over 6 years in the Geneva Basin where two main harvest regimes coexist (day hunt and night cull). Mean seasonal 95% kernel home range size was 4.01 ± 0.20 km² (SE) and 50% core range size 0.79 ± 0.04 km², among the smallest recorded in Europe. Range sizes were larger in the day hunt area than in the night cull area, with no seasonal effect. However, when accounting for landscape variables, we demonstrate that these patterns were likely confounded by the underlying landscape configuration, and that landscape variables remain the primary drivers of wild boar ranging patterns in this human-dominated agro-ecosystem with range size best explained by a model including landscape variables only. Therefore, we recommend accounting for landscape configuration and sources of non-lethal disturbance in the design of harvest strategies when the aim is to limit wide-ranging behaviour of wild boar in order to mitigate conflicts.