Differences in wild boar spatial behaviour among land uses and management scenarios in Mediterranean ecosystems
The ubiquitous wild boar is causing diverse and growing conflicts of socio-ecological and economic relevance worldwide. For that reason, knowledge of its spatial ecology is crucial to designing effective management programmes. But this knowledge is scarce in Mediterranean areas with mixed land uses. We describe the spatial ecology and habitat selection of 41 adult wild boar monitored using GPS collars and analyse the effects of sex and the period (food shortage period, hunting season and food abundance period) under different land uses (protected areas, mixed farms and fenced hunting estates). The spatial ecology of wild boar was characterised by marked temporality, mediated by sex and the land uses in the area. The activity (ACT), daily range (DR) and home range (HR) were higher for males than females, and in mixed farms versus fenced hunting estates, while the lowest values were obtained in protected areas. These effects were more marked for ACT and DR (movement) than HR. The selection of scrublands and avoidance of woodlands was observed where drive hunt events occur (mixed farms and fenced estates), but not in the protected areas. The differences in the requirements, reproductive behaviour and, interestingly, response to disturbance according to sex may explain this dissimilar behaviour. Disturbance originated higher movement rates and the selection of sheltering land cover as a refuge during the hunting season. This information is useful for designing species monitoring and management programmes; including both preventive and reactive actions in response to events such as outbreaks of African swine fever and agricultural damage produced by wild boar in Europe.