Status of the European Wild Boar Project
Management Report No. 6
NPS Logo


Stegeman (1938) and Hanson and Karstad (1959) did preliminary research on the distribution and natural history of wild boar in southeastern United States. The natural history, population fluctuations, and hunting and control of the European wild boar in native habitat in Europe and Asia are described in the works of Niethammer (1963), Boback (1957), Hennig (1963; 1972), Heptner and Naumov (1966), Gründlach (1968), Sludski (1956) and Snethlage (1967).

In 1956, the Tennessee Game and Fish Commission initiated a European wild hog research project in nearby Tellico GMA, which yielded data on aging techniques for boar (Matschke 1967), food habits (Henry and Conley 1972), trapping and immobilization (Henry and Matschke 1968; Matschke 1962; Matschke and Henry 1969), reproduction (Henry 1966; Matschke 1967; Henry 1968a, 1968b) and damage by hogs on dummy nests for ground nesting birds (Henry 1969; Matschke 1965).

The University of Tennessee supported graduate student research in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on rooting activities (Belden 1972), on control techniques (Fox 1972), on seasonal food habits (Scott 1974), on reproductive biology (Duncan 1974), and on age techniques and age structure (Henson 1975).

Bratton (1974, 1975) reported on the effects of European wild boar upon high-elevation vernal flora in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Related research on feral domestic swine has been conducted in the Savannah River Nuclear Plant, Georgia on census (Sweeney 1971) and on movements and home ranges (Kurz and Marchinton 1972) Ongoing research at the Baruch Forest Science Institute, South Carolina, on feral swine by Dr. G. Wood has dealt with daily activity, food habits, movements, control and damage of beach communities (radio-telemetry). R. Belden, Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission is initiating radio-telemetry work on sow feral domestic hogs to determine farrowing peaks. The state of West Virginia has been conducting field research and radio-telemetry studies.

Review papers on the status, population trends and socioeconomic values of feral domestics are being prepared by Frankenberger and Belden (in press) for the state of Florida, and by G. Wood (in progress) for the entire southeastern United States.

Bratton (1974b) compiled a comprehensive review of the literature on European wild boar and available information on the boar in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Potential limiting factors discussed for the population are predation, weather conditions, disease, food, and hunting by man, including Ranger removals and illegal poaching in boundary areas. Bratton (1974b) pointed out the need in the Smokies for in formation on:

1. Reproductive potential and carrying capacity of boar.

2. Estimate of the population, yearly increases or decreases, and movements into new areas.

3. Improving control techniques such as placement of trap, bait or attractant used and design of the trap, particularly the gate. Information recorded during trapping should include site-type grazing intensity information, trap success, collection of potential food items, stomach contents, and herd size.

Bratton (1974b) also approached philosophical problems in the Park Service management of the boar, and suggested that central coordination of the program should come from within the park, more back-country work would be needed than in the past the control program should be connected to basic ecological research and initially should favor imagination and experimentation.

<<< Previous <<< Contents>>> Next >>>

Last Updated: 24-Aug-2009