|Dowd, Michael - Mike|
Submitted to: Human-Wildlife Interactions
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/3/2009
Publication Date: 4/1/2010
Citation: Campbell, T.A., Bullock, S.L., Long, D.B., Hewitt, D.D., Dowd, M.K. 2010. Visitation to cottonseed storage sites by feral swine and evidence of gossypol exposure. Human-Wildlife Interactions. 4(1):145-151. Interpretive Summary: A number of feral pigs, radio collared and ear tagged as part of a range habitat study, were observed foraging around piles of cottonseed near cotton gins in south Texas. Subsequent analysis of the collar data indicated that many of the animals were spending considerable amounts of time near two cotton gins, both known to store cottonseed in large outdoor piles. A subsequent search of the areas near the gins found several dead animals (many with ear tags). Several animals were also hunted in order to collect blood samples and were subsequently found to have significant levels of plasma gossypol. The evidence suggests that feral pigs readily feed on cottonseed stored at local cotton gins. The results should be of interest to gin operators, ranchers, and wildlife managers that utilization cottonseed in southern Texas.
Technical Abstract: This report describes observations surrounding a range habitat study of a group of radio-collared and ear-tagged feral pigs in south Texas. A mortality signal from the collar of one animal and reported signs of lethargy in a second animal led to an investigation into the causes of the distress. Location data for the two animals indicated that they had spent significant portions of time near two cotton gins, where cottonseed was known to be stored outside in open piles. A search of the area revealed an additional 11 pig carcasses. A group of additional animals were subsequently hunted from arround the gins and blood plasma was collected for gossypol analysis. These animals were found to have variable gossypol levels ranging from 0.4 to 27.4 'g/mL. Two-thirds of the animals, however, sampled had gossypol plasma levels >4.4 'g/mL, considerable above the levels found in a second group of animals believed not to have been exposed to cottonseed. This latter group of animals averaged less than 1 'g/mL of plasma gossypol. The observations suggest that feral pigs will readily feed on cottonseed. Consequently, there may be challenges surrounding the storage and utilization of cottonseed for range feeding in south Texas