‘Wild boar management call for urgent science-based action plans’
We, the members of the Scientific Committee of the IWBS 2022, held in the Montseny Biosphere Reserve, in Seva (Catalonia, Spain) acknowledge that,
Wild boar is one of the most widespread and adaptable mammals in the world. This species is expanding in numbers and range, colonizing almost every type of habitats and regions, from the high mountain areas to lowlands and urban areas.
Wild boar can have significant positive and negative impacts on ecosystem functions and biodiversity. This species is involved in social and economic conflicts, such as increasing damage to crops, vehicle collisions, damage to infrastructures and damage in urban areas (including injuries to people), disease transmission and new risks such as the expansion of African swine fever (ASF). On the other hand, wild boar is providing several important ecosystem services and in many countries is a highly valued game species. New approaches to manage wild boar population and their impacts are therefore required.
Controlling wild boar population growth, and impacts, through sustainable, effective, and publicly supported methods, is one of the major challenges of wildlife management of the 21st century.
If no effective actions are taken wild boar populations and their impacts will continue to grow.
Therefore, we, the members of the Scientific Committee of the IWBS 2022, call for action to all governments to:
1. Develop and implement action plans, based on scientific knowledge and validated methods to reduce wild boar population growth rate measure the effects of such interventions and evaluate their effectiveness. Monitoring is crucial for an adaptive management approach.
2. Assesses whether, even in the presence of predators, lethal control -via recreational hunting, hired professionals or other methods- can achieve target population densities.
3. Develop and test other approaches and complementary methods for population control to support the achievement of target population densities. More research on this topic is urgently needed.
4. Support and fund applied research aimed at assessing and validating the impact of different methods of control on population densities.
5. Ban supplementary feeding of wild boar. Attracting wild boar with food must be limited to research, population and disease control and strictly regulated.
6. Apply measures to reduce access to artificial food sources such as pet food or garbage, especially in urbanized areas.
7. Invest in preventive measures for protecting crops, with the double benefit of reducing crop damage as well as fertility of wild boar.
8. Put in place measures to reduce the risk of vehicle-wild boar collisions and promote research on innovative and effective techniques.
9. Prevent domestic pigs from escaping or being released into natural habitats in order to avoid impacts on biodiversity and risk of hybridisation with wild boar.
10. Improve wild pig surveillance worldwide to achieve a more integrated disease monitoring and management approach.
11. Since wild pigs in Africa are the only species resistant to ASF and a potential reservoir for ASF, promote research on their ecology and mechanisms of resistance.
12. Promote approaches to increase public awareness on wild boar and their impacts, and collaborative management with different stakeholders.
Evidence and science-based management strategies and actions plans, developed in collaboration with stakeholders and publicly acceptance must be urgently implemented. Investments in monitoring and research, as well as development of new techniques are now needed more than ever.
13th International Symposium on Wild Boar and other Suids, IWBS 2022