Extensive infanticide in enclosed European wild boars (Sus scrofa)
2011 (English)In: Applied Animal Behaviour Science, ISSN 0168-1591, E-ISSN 1872-9045, Vol. 134, no 3, 184-192 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Infanticidal behaviour is wide-spread among animals of various taxonomic groups, but has not previously been reported in European wild boars, which are commonly kept in enclosures in Sweden and Finland for meat and recreation purposes. We studied the behaviour of wild boars in one enclosure during three reproductive seasons. Non-maternal infanticide was documented in 14 out of 22 litters, causing the deaths of all piglets in all but one affected litters. Infanticide was typically performed during or shortly after parturition by a sow which was older and larger than the victimised sow, and we found no effect of relatedness. A questionnaire sent to 112 owners of enclosures in Sweden and Finland resulted in 62 responses. Although the owners were often not able to provide exact figures on reproduction and mortality, non-maternal infanticide was reported to be the most common cause of piglet mortality, which in total was estimated to 29.1%. The occurrence of infanticide was unrelated to size of enclosure and to variations in husbandry routines, which all together may suggest that the behaviour is part of the normal behavioural repertoire in European wild boars. The observed levels of infanticide constitute a major welfare problem in captive wild boars.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier , 2011. Vol. 134, no 3, 184-192 p.
Behaviour; enclosure; farrowing; infanticide; Sus scrofa; wild boar
National CategoryNatural Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-57984DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2011.08.001ISI: 000296114100013OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-57984DiVA: diva2:329812
Funding agencies|Swedish Board of Agriculture||Swedish Animal Welfare Agency||2010-07-132010-07-132011-11-18