Over the last century, the wild boar (Sus scrofa) has become an important wildlife species in both economic and ecological terms. Considered a pest by some and a resource by others, its rapid increase in population and distribution has raised management concerns. Studies on activity rhythms may provide useful insights into its overall ecology and help develop effective management strategies. By examining highly detailed activity data collected by means of accelerometers fitted on GPS-collars, we studied wild boar daily activity rhythms and the effect of environmental conditions on their diurnal and nocturnal activity. We thus provided evidence of the predominantly nocturnal and monophasic activity of wild boars. All year round, we reported low activity levels during the day, which opportunistically increased under the most favourable environmental conditions. Activity was found to be significantly affected by such weather conditions as temperature, precipitation and air relative humidity. Moreover, we found that nocturnal activity slightly increased as moonlight increased. Part of our analysis was focused on the hunting period in order to investigate whether wild boars modify their activity levels in response to hunting disturbance. Our results suggested that wild boar nocturnal habits are not directly influenced by the current hunting disturbance, though we hypothesised that they may have evolved over several decades of hunting harassment. Alternatively, but not exclusively, nocturnal habits may have evolved as a low-cost strategy to achieve an optimum thermal balance (i.e., behavioural thermoregulation).
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|Titolo:||An analysis of intrinsic and extrinsic factors affecting the activity of a nocturnal species: The wild boar|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03.1 Articolo su rivista|