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Report2021Open access

Effects of superabundant food supplies on large ungulates, with certain emphasis on wild boar (Sus scrofa)

Augustsson, Evelina


During recent years, supplemental feeding of wildlife has become a common management practice all over the world. Supplemental feeding is normally conducted in order to support and to be supplementary to natural forage or divert animals away from sensitive habitats, but the effects of feeding are both debated and controversial. An evaluation of the published literature on the effects of supplementary feeding large ungulates show that artificial food resources could, similar to natural foods, affect species demography and spatial behaviour, although the understanding of the ecological effects is yet very limited. The effects of supplemental feeding on reproduction could be expected to be influenced by reproductive strategy of the target species as well the timing of feeding. Additional food tends to have an in general positive influence in wild boar reproductive output. Diversionary feeding has shown low efficiency and in the scientific literature it seems to be generally accepted that crop damage is not avoided through supplementary feeding. Reviewed literature show that the mechanisms behind consumer response to pulsed resources are highly complex and there may be numerous unintentional side effects. Furthermore, there are severe management implications with this practice and there is an important trade-off between short-term benefits and long-term costs of feeding.

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Publisher: Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

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