Food resources affect territoriality of invasive wild pig sounders with implications for control
Interest in control methods for invasive wild pigs (Sus scrofa) has increased due to their range expansion, population growth, and an improved understanding of their destructive ecological and economic effects. Recent technological advances in traps for control of pig populations facilitate capture of entire social groups (sounders), but the efficacy of “whole-sounder” trapping strategies is heavily dependent on the degree of territoriality among sounders, a topic little research has explored. We assessed territoriality in wild pig sounders on the Savannah River Site, South Carolina, USA, and examined whether availability of food resources provided by a municipal-waste landfill affected among-sounder territoriality. We estimated utilization distribution overlap and dynamic interactions among 18 neighboring sounders around a landfill. We found that although neighboring sounders overlapped in space, intensity of use in shared areas was uniformly low, indicating territorial behavior. Neighbors tended to share slightly more space when closer to the landfill waste cells, indicating availability of a super-abundant resource somewhat weakens the degree of territoriality among sounders. Nevertheless, we conclude that sounders behaved in a generally territorial manner, and we discuss implications for whole-sounder trapping programs, particularly near concentrated resources such as landfills and crop fields.