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Bio­di­ver­sity


A Col­lec­tion of News by Moos


201724Jun08:35

Recre­ational hunters are serv­ing the ecosystem

Infor­ma­tion
pub­lished 24 June 2017 | mod­i­fied 24 June 2017
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Hunt­ing as an out­door activ­ity is under­rated in how it helps nature and soci­ety to reg­u­late prob­lem ani­mal over­pop­u­la­tions. Such is the case for Europe’s wild boar Sus scrofa, accord­ing to Span­ish researchers from the IREC insti­tute (UCLM and CSIC), and Prin­ci­pado de Asturias. Their arti­cle is pub­lished online on 30 May in Springer’s Euro­pean Jour­nal of Wildlife Research.

Recre­ational hunt­ing in par­tic­u­lar is increas­ingly per­ceived by the ever-​growing urban pop­u­la­tion as an unsus­tain­able and debauched extrac­tive activ­ity. This per­cep­tion has an influ­ence on the num­ber of active hunters, and on the recruit­ment of new ones to the sport.

wild boarMale wild boar.
Image credit Chris­t­ian Gortázar Schmidt, no usage restictions.

To inves­ti­gate how this has an influ­ence on the growth in wild ungu­late num­bers, Quirós-​Fernández and his col­leagues focused on the wild boar pop­u­la­tion, which accord­ing to a 2015 review is grow­ing by 20 per­cent each year in Europe.

it is impor­tant to note that we [the authors] advo­cate pre­vent­ing wild boar pop­u­la­tion growth and even­tu­ally bal­anc­ing high den­si­ties, while we do not pro­pose the sup­pres­sion of an eco­log­i­cally impor­tant native species

The research team focused their atten­tion on Spain’s north­west­ern province of Asturias, where hunt­ing is essen­tially non-​commercial and is still tra­di­tional among rural inhab­i­tants. The team inves­ti­gated annual wild boar hunt­ing bag data col­lected from game reserves and hunt­ing estates, and the influ­ence that tem­po­rary hunt­ing bans in six of these estates had on pop­u­la­tion num­bers. Hunt­ing bag sta­tis­tics that reflect the quan­tity of game killed dur­ing a hunt­ing sea­son were used, as these pro­vide a reli­able index of the rel­a­tive abun­dance of wild boar, and are often used to mon­i­tor pop­u­la­tion sizes over long peri­ods of time.

The find­ings reflect marked dif­fer­ences in the num­ber of wild boar hunted annu­ally from 20002001 to 20132014. The total wild boar hunt­ing bag for the area grew each year by 5.63 per­cent dur­ing the study period. The annual hunt­ing bag size after a hunt­ing ban was lifted was much larger than that of the pre-​ban period, and grew by 40.33 per­cent in the sea­son fol­low­ing its lift­ing. This dif­fer­ence indi­cates that hunters are able to reduce and reg­u­late wild boar numbers.

Recre­ational hunters con­tribute towards reg­u­lat­ing the pop­u­la­tion growth of prob­lem species such as the wild boar,” the authors say. “In this con­text, it is impor­tant to note that we advo­cate pre­vent­ing wild boar pop­u­la­tion growth and even­tu­ally bal­anc­ing high den­si­ties, while we do not pro­pose the sup­pres­sion of an eco­log­i­cally impor­tant native species”.

The mean annual increase of 5.63 per­cent in the wild boar hunt­ing bag sug­gests that cur­rent hunt­ing prac­tices alone are not able to con­trol the pop­u­la­tion. In fact, dur­ing this time only half of the quota of ani­mals allowed were hunted. Accord­ing to this study, recre­ational hunters should there­fore be encour­aged to attain higher wild boar hunt­ing bags, because of the eco­nomic and eco­log­i­cal advan­tages to doing so. “This is espe­cially rel­e­vant because of the declin­ing num­ber and age­ing pop­u­la­tion of hunters through­out Europe. Future research should also focus on how hunt­ing, dis­eases and pre­da­tion have an influ­ence on wild boar pop­u­la­tion dynamics”.

(Source: Springer news release, 30.05.2017)


UN Biodiversity decade

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

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