Wild boars are not easily misled

Date: 23 October 2017

Introduction: In the newspaper "Het Belang van Limburg", Anneleen presents her PhD research on agricultural damage caused by wild boars.

Since 2015, Anneleen Rutten (Global Change Ecology Centre, research group Evolutionary Ecology) investigates the impact of wild boars on agriculture in the Belgian province of Limburg. Making use of a drone, she took images of damaged areas, and used these images to calculate the damaged surface in detail. The damage is then linked to data on the crop variety, fertilisation and other area characteristics. Three years of research already resulted in a lot of new knowledge. For example, it seems that especially grasslands and maize are vulnerable. In the newspaper ‘Het Belang van Limburg’ of October 21st 2017, she was interviewed on her research.

Anneleen: “We clearly see that wild boars are not easily misled. When an electrical fence is present, that can be passed by the pigs, the sows will not let the fence stop them. They even cope with electrical shocks to follow the pigs. Also sound cannons and scarecrows specifically aimed at boars offer little relief. The wild boars understand very quickly that no real hunters are present.”

Now Anneleen will dive deep into her data. Within the year, she hopes to be able to indicate why wild boars prefer one maize field, and not another one next to it. This could be related to management, crop variety or the presence of adjacent forest areas. In the end, Anneleen aims to objectively provide information on the financial impact for the farmers.  Damage to crops impacts their business. The new insights will help to steer the future management of the wild boar populations.

wild boars
Foto: Jörg Hempel