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Extensive infanticide in enclosed European wild boars (Sus scrofa)

By Annelie Andersson, Anna Valros, Johan Rombin, Per Jensen

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Abstract

Infanticidal behaviour, behaviour with wide welfare implications, is wide-spread among animals of various taxonomic groups, but has not previously been systematically studied in European wild boars, which are commonly kept in enclosures in Sweden and Finland for meat and recreation hunting. 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 1 affected litters. Infanticide was typically performed during or shortly after parturition by a sow which was older (P0.05), which may suggest that the behaviour could be a part of the normal behavioural repertoire in European wild boars. The observed levels of infanticide constitute a major welfare problem in captive wild boars.

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 134
Issue 3
Pages 184-192
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2011.08.001
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Tags
  1. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  2. Boars
  3. Farrowing
  4. Infanticide