NEW DATA FROM ITALY
Scientific data from Italy show that the increase in the population of feral pigs and thus the increase in damage to agriculture and traffic accidents is a direct result of hunting pressure on this species. Andrea Mazzatenta from the University of Teram in his report proves that the increase in the population of feral pigs is caused by hunters.
At the lecture in Vast entitled “Biological reasons for the spread of feral pigs and related legal problems”, prof. Andrea Mazzatenta, a pheromone expert, presented the results of the research: with data and graphs, he proved that the main reason for the increased reproduction and spread of wild boar in Abruzzo is the increase in hunting of these animals in recent decades. Also in Tuscany, the number of feral pigs has doubled due to intensive hunting and has now exceeded the 200,000 mark.
As prof. Mazzatenta, herds of wild Leitbach pigs are dominant. Leitbachs produce pheromones (hormone-like fragrances as mediators of information transfer). Pheromone emission inhibits the fertility of other lower-ranking females, with the Leitbach herd being the only one to reproduce. As hunters shoot down Leitbachs during the hunt, the herds disintegrate. This immediately triggers weaning in other lower-ranking females, which means that they reproduce several times in the same year and then form new herds. In this way, the number of feral pigs increases from year to year.
Although it sounds paradoxical, it is true: the more wild boar hunting, the more they multiply. This connection is pointed out by many scientists.
LONG-TERM STUDY FROM FRANCE
MORE HUNTING LEADS TO INCREASED REPRODUCTION OF WILD PIGS
A long-term French study came to fruition ten years ago: intensive hunting leads to significantly higher reproduction and promotes fertility. Scientists in the Sabrine Servanty group compared the breeding of wild boar in a forest area in the Haute Marne department, where wild boar hunting is very intense, over a period of 22 years, with a hunting ground in the Pyrenees, where hunting is much less.
The result: in areas where hunting pressure is intense, the birth rate of feral pigs is significantly higher than in areas where there is very little hunting.
Furthermore, during intensive hunting, sexual maturity occurs significantly earlier – before the end of the first year, so that the puppies are already pregnant. The average weight of first-born feral pigs is also lower during intensive hunting.
In areas where there are fewer hunters at work, the reproduction of feral pigs is significantly lower, the sexual maturity of females occurs later and at a higher average weight.