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Urban wild boars prefer fragmented areas with food resources near natural corridors

Published: 1 February 2018

Abstract: Wild boar populations are expanding throughout the world and intruding into periurban and urban areas. In the last years, wild boar has colonized several European cities, including our study area, the city of Barcelona. It is required to identify the main factors driving wild boar into urban areas prior to establish management measures. We built Boosted Regression Trees (BRT) using 3148 wild boar presences registered in the urban area of Barcelona from 2010 to 2014 to identify the variables correlated with these presences. The variables analysed included proxies for distance to source population, urban food resources, climate and urban habitat structure. Wild boars enter the urban area from close natural habitat using corridors such as streams, preferably in fragmented urban environment, looking for food such as urban green areas or dry pet food from cat colonies. Wild boar presence is higher in spring possibly due to the births of piglets and the dispersion of yearlings during that season, and also when natural resources in the Mediterranean habitat fail to satisfy the nutritional requirements of the wild boar population during the summer season. Management measures derived from this study are currently being applied in the city of Barcelona, including vegetation clearings in the wild boar entrance areas and an awareness campaign aimed at reducing the anthropogenic food availability for wild boars. The methodology used can be applied to other cities with wild boar or even other wildlife species issues. The comparison between the factors attracting wild boars into different urban areas would be helpful to understand the global phenomenon.
Keywords: Boosted regression trees / Mediterranean climate / Native invader / Sus scrofa / Urban area / Wildlife management

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