Diet of the wild boar ( Sus scrofa ): implications for management in forest-agricultural and urban environments in South Korea

Seong-Min Lee, Eun-Jae Lee
PeerJ 2019, 7: e7835
The wild boar is one of the most widely distributed in the world. In South Korea, the wild boar population has rapidly increased and their habitat use has expanded from forests to urban environments. This expansion has led to increased conflicts with humans, such as the severe damaging of crops and the attacking of people in urban areas. We assessed the stomach contents of wild boar killed by hunters in two different environments in Geochang and Seoul, South Korea, from 2012 to 2017. We compared the feeding habits between sites and between seasons and explored the relationship between the number of earthworms and the main diet. The diet of wild boars inhabiting the two environments were found to differ and vary seasonally. Wild boar in Geochang preferred crops, when available, to natural food resources. Although wild boar in Seoul also preferred crops, they had a higher composition of natural food in their diets because of a low availability of crops. The preference of crops and discarded food waste in urban areas is expected to have accelerated the appearance of wild boar in urban areas. The consumption of earthworms did not differ between the two study sites, but it did differ seasonally due to availability. The number of earthworms was significantly negatively correlated with crop availability in both sites. Effective management plans that involve targeted hunting by baiting with food in Seoul and direct hunting in the fall in Geochang should be implemented to resolve the human-wild boar conflicts in these areas.

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