Status of the European Wild Boar Project
Management Report No. 6
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Ongoing Research

1. Dr. Susan Bratton, with assistants, conducted research on lightweight, back-packable hog traps in 1976. This work will continue to a limited extent during construction of the 15 traps needed at the lab for research purposes.

2. Preliminary social behavior study was conducted during the summer of 1976, by Mark Shaffer of Duke University. Two areas, Spence Field and Cades Cove, were regularly patrolled. Hogs were watched from tree blinds as they fed upon corn bait.

3. Mark Huff, Duke University, under the direction of Dr. Bratton, our resident Plant Ecologist, conducted studies on the effects of boar rooting on tree and shrub reproduction in Gray Beech Forest. Mark spent a great deal of time in the back country and visited most of the beech gaps, including some unrooted gaps for comparative purposes. Mark also investigated the effect of hog rooting on tree growth and root fungi.

4. Dr. Alan Tipton, Virginia Polytechnical Institute, was awarded a contract in 1976, to study boar populations, oak mast production and related parameters. Dale Otto is the first graduate student, and a second one is expected in June 1977.

5. Dr. Rex Lowe, Bowling Green University, was awarded a contract in 1976, to extend for 2 years, on the effects of hog rooting upon algal communities.

Resident Feral Hog Biologist Projects (by Priority)

1. Census of park population

2. Radio-telemetry study

3. National Seashores (Contingent)

4. Food habits

5. Eruption stages

6. Documentation of control

7. Consultation to Superintendent

Future Projects

These projects will be considered for funding as contract work or by employees at the Uplands Field Research Lab at some time in the future. They are rated by priority, although actual sequence of funding and completion will depend upon the availability of competent and interested scientists to do the work, and upon the availability of funds.

1. Chemical Stimuli. This area would involve the development of progesterone administered to sows in traps to induce estrus and aid in attraction of additional boar to the trap. It would also include the development of synthetic scent attractants and the use of salt and mineral attractants.

2. Biological Controls. Development in the laboratory, under controlled conditions, of materials that might have application in field conditions in the Great Smoky Mountains, towards reduction of boar populations. These developments would have to apply to the wilderness situation in the park and be compatible with livestock activities in areas surrounding the park. Possibilities include selective poisons, selective sterilants, selective anti-lactasants, and selective attractive scents.

3. Audio Work. Attraction of wild boar to trap sites with artificially produced sounds, i.e. piglets squealing, etc.

4. Status of rare and endangered species in the park.

5. Overexploitation of other vertebrate populations by wild boar. Priority will be given initially to salamanders, snakes and ground-nesting birds.

6. Competition for forages by boar with other species.

7. Effects of wild boar upon normal plant successions and energy flow.

8. Intensive social behavior study.

9. Intensive habitat relations study.

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Last Updated: 24-Aug-2009