n2312WILDBOAR.jpg

Wild Boar - Sus scrofa

Family:
Pigs (Artiodactyla Suidae Suinae)
Status:
Lower Risk/ Least Concern

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Taxonomic status

Scientific name

Sus scrofa

Common name

Wild Boar

Synonyms

Eurasian wild boar

Comments on the subspecies

Sus scrofa algira; Sus scrofa attila; Sus scrofa cristatus; Sus scrofa davidi; Sus scrofa leucomystax Sus scrofa libycus; Sus scrofa majori; Sus scrofa meridionalis; Sus scrofa moupinensis; Sus scrofa nigripes; Sus scrofa riukiuanus; Sus scrofa scrofa; Sus scrofa sibiricus; Sus scrofa taivanus; Sus scrofa ussuricus; Sus scrofa vittatus

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Species information

Physical characteristics

Body Length 90-200 cm
Shoulder Height 55-110 cm
Tail Length 15-40 cm
Weight 44-320 kg
Life Span 15-20 years


The brownish coat is coarse and bristly, usually turning grayish with age. The face, cheeks, and throat are slightly grizzled with whitish hairs. The back is rounded and the legs are relatively long, especially in northern subspecies.

Adult wild boar

Adult wild boar with the small tusks visible

The young are born with a pattern of light stripes along their torso, known as livery. These fade between the second and sixth month, reaching adult colouration at one year of age. The wartless head is long and pointed. The upper canines form tusks which curve out and upwards. The lower canines are like razors, self-sharpening by rubbing against the upper canines. The tail is long with a simple tuft.

This piglet shows the tipicle pattern of light stripes along it's torso

This piglet shows the typical pattern of light stripes along its torso

Habitat, behaviour, food and reproduction

Habitat and food

The Eurasian wild pig occupies a wide variety of temperate and tropical habitats, from semi-deserts to tropical rain forests, temperate woodlands, grasslands and reed jungles, often venturing onto agricultural land to forage. It is found in a variety of habitats. In Europe, it prefers broadleaved forests and especially evergreen oak forests, but may also be found in more open habitats such as steppe, mediterranean shrubland, and farmland, as long as there is water and tree cover nearby. In Europe it is found from sea level to altitudes of 2,400 in the Pyrenees, but it can be found at higher elevations in Asia.

A wild boar at the river side in Kroatia

A wild boar at the river side in Kroatia

Wild boar in the primeval forest, Bialowieza Poland

Wild boar in the primeval forest, Bialowieza Poland

The species is omnivorous, though stomach and fecal contents analyses indicate that vegetable matter, principally fruits, seeds, roots and tubers, constitutes about 90% of its diet.

Wild boar are normally most active in the early morning and late afternoon, though they become nocturnal in disturbed areas, where activity usually commences shortly before sunset and continues throughout the night. A total of 4 to 8 hours are spent foraging or traveling to feeding areas. Feeding is generally a social activity (even solitary males may join feeding groups) which also provides an opportunity for display and other agonistic behaviours.

Radio telemetry studies in southern France indicate that they generally travel between 2 and 15 km per night, though this is often within an area of only 20 to 150 ha. However, the home range estimates for adult females and adult males over a 2-3 month period varied from 500-1,000 ha and 1,000-2,000 ha, respectively. During this same period, subadults covered an area of 500-5,000 ha, and after 6 to 12 months they may have covered more than 10,000 ha; the larger home ranges of these animals being related to their expulsion from their natal groups and then undergoing a wandering phase. Movements over long distances (50 to 250 km) have also been recorded in Europe, but the extent and purpose of these movements has yet to be studied.

Experiments in which tagged animals are released and subsequently recovered provide evidence that they disperse freely over even larger areas (500 to 750 km²), which may also indicate the area occupied by large population units. The density of free-ranging Sus scrofa in Europe rarely exceeds 5 individuals/km².

Reproduction

Gestation Period 112-130 days
Young per Birth 4-8, rarely up to 13
Weaning At 3-4 months
Sexual Maturity Usually around 18 months


Wild boar are gregarious, forming herds, or 'sounders', of varying size depending on locality and season. Usually these groups consist of between 6 and 20 individuals, though aggregations of over 100 have been reported.

A group of wild boar with females and piglets

A group of female wild boar with piglets

The basic social unit is a nucleus of one or more females and their last litters of piglets. During the mating season subadults and adult males are subordinated. However, subadults and adult males stay in relatively close contact with 1 or 2 female groups at other times of the year. Subadult males or mixed sex groups of subadults may also form longer-term associations.

The dynamics of the basic group include the isolation of the preparturient (bearing) female, her re-entry with young, entry of (young) nulliparous females, the arrival of adult males with the simultaneous departure of subadult animals. In contrast to its domestic descendants, reproductive activity in Sus scrofa tends to be seasonal and positively correlated with the relative availability of principal foodstuffs or related climatic factors. However, social organization may also play a role in modulating the timing of reproductive events, since farrowing (bearing) is often synchronized amongst females within a group, which suggests a mechanism for synchronizing the onset of estrus.

Predation

Human, Wolf, Snow leopard.

Wild boar, eaten by wolfs (location chernobyl)

Wild boar, eaten by wolfs (location: Chernobyl, Ukraine)

Population size and trends

This species is abundant in many parts of its range, though populations can be depleated in places where hunting intensity is high (for example in eastern and southeastern Asia).

Eurasian wild boar populations in Europe increased markedly during the latter part of the 20th century, but are now thought to be stable in most areas. Reintroduced populations in England, southern Sweden and Finland may be increasing.

Although there is no global population estimate, numbers can be high in many places.

AreaNumbersDevelopment
WorldNumerous
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Distribution: maps, historical and current

Countries

Landscapes

Interactive map

Map: Sus scrofa- Wild boar: Current situation
Source: Status Report 2007 of the Large Herbivores in the Palaearctic


Wild Boar Current Distribution Show in a larger map

Further map information

Range map Wild boar

Historical distribution

The Eurasian wild boar has one of the widest geographic distributions of all terrestrial mammals, and this range has been greatly expanded by human agency.

The species now occurs in pure wild or barely modified feral form on all continents except Antarctica, and many oceanic islands.

It is the ancestor of most (but not all) ancient and modern domestic pig breeds, and there is evidence to suggest that it was independently domesticated in several different parts of its range, including Southeast Asia, the Far East and Asia Minor.

As a wild form, it has constituted a primary resource of subsistence hunters since the earliest times, and it is one of the most important targets for recreational hunting wherever it remains sufficiently abundant.

Over-hunting and changes in land use have resulted in the fragmentation of its range and its extermination throughout the British Isles, Scandinavia, parts of North Africa, and relatively extensive parts of its range in the former Soviet Union and northern Japan. Nevertheless, the species remains widely distributed and is often locally abundant.

As a result of its depredations on crops it is regarded as a pest in many countries, where it remains unprotected outside designated wildlife reserves or is managed as a game animal.

Current distribution

It is distributed throughout the European mainland and parts of Asia.
However, it is extinct in British Isles and Scandinavia, but it was reintroduced in England, Southern Finland and Southern Sweden.

Sus scrofa meridionalis, Iberian Wild Pig
Found in Andalusia (South Spain and South East Portugal), Sardinia and Corsica (island populations probably feral).

Sus scrofa nigripes, Central Asian Wild Boar
Flanks of the Tien shan Range in Central Asia and ranging west to the Caspian Sea, south to North Iran, Afghanistan, West and South Mongolia (including Great Lakes Depression and western Mongol Altai Mountain Range) and China, and east as far as Novosibirsk.

Sus scrofa sibiricus, Siberian Wild Boar
Synonyms: Sus scrofa raddeanus.
Occurs in Siberia and in the eastern parts of Mongolia including Hangai, Hösgö and Hentii mountain ranges, Ikh Hyangan Mountain Range and Mongol Daguur Steppe.

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Threats

No major threats at global level

However, there are many threats at a more local level, principally habitat destruction and hunting pressure, either for food, sport or in reprisal for crop damage, particularly in areas near human habitation.

Habitat loss

In Afghanistan, the decrease in the numbers of wild pigs in the Pul-i-Khumri District in the 1950s has been reported as a result of the draining of marshlands for agricultural purposes, and hunting by Europeans, but they were still numerous in other districts where: "they invade the fields and cause serious damage during the harvest".

Agricultural conflicts

Lay (1967) also remarked upon the damage to crops by wild pigs in Iran which: "...brings great wrath upon them, usually ineffectual, from the local farmers". In Pakistan, the expansion of the sugar cane industry in the 1960s and early 1970s brought about local increases in the numbers of wild pigs (Sus scrofa davidi), whose depredations in the cane fields (estimated at an annual loss rate of Rs.5 million in 1978) led to the development of control measures, including the use of poison baits.

Hunting pressure

In these and many other (non-Islamic) countries or local communities, wild pigs often constitute the single most important game animal to subsistence and/or recreational hunters. Sport hunting accounts for about 30 to 50% of animals heavier than 20 kg in southern France, though this figure may be as high as 50 to 75% in some heavily populated countries, where hunting remains largely or wholly uncontrolled. For example, the wild boar population inhabiting the 25,000 ha of broadleaved woodlands around Monticiano in Italy, has apparently been able to sustain its numbers despite an annual hunter-kill rate of about 50% (c. 500 animals) of the population.

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Conservation information

IUCN Red List

Lower Risk/ Least Concern: - lc ver 2.3

EU habitat directive

-

CITES

-

EU Wildlife trade regulation EC Reg. 338/97

-

Bern convention

-

Bonn convention

-

Conservation status

The species is doing generally well throughout most of its range; it is even considered a pest in most countries and therefore intensively hunted. See subspecies for more detailed information regarding populations that are fragmented or in need of special attention.

Sus scrofa meridionalis, Iberian Wild Pig
Is considered potentially at risk or rare (IUCN Pig, Peccaries & Hippos Specialist Group website).

Sus scrofa nigripes, Central Asian Wild Boar
Are still said to be widespread and abundant but the current situation in Mongolia needs to be investigated. As many other animal species in Mongolia they suffer from extreme hunting pressure as well as habitat degradation and hybridization with domesticated pigs. Regional status in Mongolia is Near Threatened. The total Wild Boar take in Mongolia was estimated to be 30,000 animals in 2004, this concerns both Sus scrofa raddeanus and Sus scrofa nigripes.

Sus scrofa sibiricus, Siberian Wild Boar
Synonyms: Sus scrofa raddeanus
Are still said to be widespread and abundant but the current situation in Mongolia needs to be investigated. As many other animal species in Mongolia they suffer from extreme hunting pressure as well as habitat degradation and hybridization with domesticated pigs. Regional status in Mongolia is Near Threatened. The total Wild Boar take in Mongolia was estimated to be 30,000 animals in 2004, this concerns both Sus scrofa raddeanus and Sus scrofa nigripes.

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Library

Posters and illustrations

Presentations

Reports

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Recommendations, remarks and advice

Policy and Politics

National

Fragmentation of populations should be reduced (Cromsigt, 2000).

Sus scrofa meridionalis, Iberian Wild Pig
The situation regarding this subspecies should be assessed so that appropriate conservation measures can be made.

Sus scrofa nigripes, Central Asian Wild Boar
The situation regarding this subspecies of Wild Boar in Mongolia needs to be thoroughly assessed so that appropriate conservation measures can be taken.

Sus scrofa sibiricus, Siberian Wild Boar
Synonyms: S. s. raddeanus.
The situation regarding this subspecies of Wild Boar in Mongolia needs to be thoroughly assessed so that appropriate conservation measures can be taken. S. s. raddeanus is often regarded as being the same subspecies as S. s. sibericus.

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Photos and other pictures to add

n2312WILDBOAR.jpg

Wild boar thumbnail
The head of a wildboar.
Source: Hans Kampf
Contact:
Rights: May be used by LHNet

Additional photos

Please email photos and figures that may be used in further publications to

To illustrate this webpage (and for the sake of the protection of these animals) we have made use of photos of which it is not always clear who is the possessor of the credits and rights. If you feel yourself infringed in your rights or if you know the source of a photo, please let us know.

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Experts and scientific referees

IUCN SSC

For more detailed information view the 'Wild Boar - Sus scrofa' page on to the IUCN Red List of threatened species.

Babaev, Elmar

Researcher (PhD). Caucasus, Wild boar, Red deer, Chamois.
Precaspian Institute of Biological Resources Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia.

Fonseca, Carlos

Wild boar
Departamento de Biologia, Univrsidade de Aveiro, Portugal

Groot Bruinderink, Geert

Large herbivores
Alterra

Kuemmerle, Tobias

Effects of land use and climate change on wildlife; resilience and sustainability of landscapes; large herbivores: European bison, reindeer, moose, saiga antelope and wild boar.
Geography Department, Humboldt-University Berlin
www.hu-berlin.de

Lkhagvasuren, Badamjav

WWF Mongolia

Sandom, Chris

Large mammal distributions, community structure and conservation practitioners attitudes towards rewilding
Aarhus University
biology.au.dk/en/researchgroups/ecoinformatics/

Smet, Koen de

IUCN/SSC Caprinea Specialist Group
Head of Nature Division Ministry of the Flemish Community Dept. Environment and Infrastructure Administration Environment, Nature, Land & Water Management

Tinoco Torres, Rita

Currently, most of my work is focused on population ecology of ungulates. I have a strong interest in wildlife ecology, in a more applied approach. I find interest both in basic and applied issues - the latter including management strategies such as harvesting or conservation. Broadly, my actual interest of investigation is the conservation and management of animal populations and ecosystems.
Wildlife Research Group, Department of Biology, University of Aveiro, Portugal
sites.google.com/site/unidadevidaselvagem

Vreugdenhil, Stefan

Mammal research institute Arnhem, The Netherlands (Zoogdiervereniging)
www.zoogdiervereniging.nl/node/86

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All comments on Wild Boar (Sus scrofa)

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