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ARS Home » Plains Area » Sidney, Montana » Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory » Pest Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #383561

Research Project: Forecasting, Outbreak Prevention, and Ecology of Grasshoppers and Other Rangeland and Crop Insects in the Great Plains

Location: Pest Management Research

Title: Behavioral states in space and time: Understanding landscape use by an invasive mammal

item GRAY, STEVEN - Michigan State University
item Humphreys Jr, John
item MONTGOMERY, ROBERT - University Of Oxford
item ETTER, DWAYNE - Michigan Department Of Natural Resources
item VERCAUTEREN, KURT - US Department Of Interior
item KRAMER, DANIEL - Michigan State University
item ROLOFF, GARY - Michigan State University

Submitted to: Journal of Wildlife Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/30/2021
Publication Date: 3/14/2022
Citation: Gray, S.M., Humphreys Jr., J.M., Montgomery, R.A., Etter, D.R., VerCauteren, K.C., Kramer, D.B., Roloff, G.J. 2022. Behavioral states in space and time: Understanding landscape use by an invasive mammal. Journal of Wildlife Management. 86(4). Article e22211.

Interpretive Summary: This research presents a movement and behavioral analysis of invasive, wild pig species in the State of Michigan. Wild pigs are destructive and economically-harmful to agriculture, where they pose disease risk to livestock, damage crops, and threaten native flora and fauna. This research describes how invasive pigs respond to land use and climate factors for the purpose of informing invasive species management and protecting agriculture in Michigan.

Technical Abstract: Animal movement models can be used to understand species behavior and inform implementation of management activities. We explored behavioral states of an invasive wild pig (Sus scrofa) population that recently colonized central Michigan, USA. To quantify environmental factors related to wild pig movement ecology and spatio-temporal landscape use. We aimed to predict wild pig behavioral states given land cover type, landscape structure (i.e., edge and patch cohesion), and weather conditions. We GPS-collared and monitored ten wild pigs over a four-year period. We fit local convex hulls and calculated movement metrics revealing three wild pig behavioral states (resting, exploratory, and relocating) and constructed a three-level model to predict behavioral state probabilities relative to biotic and abiotic conditions. Probabilities of relocating and resting behaviors were higher nearer to riparian and emergent marsh/herbaceous open cover types, indicating that these cover types provided security cover during movement and bedding. Hard mast cover types had a strong positive effect on exploratory behaviors. Increased patch cohesion in agriculture and shrub cover types corresponded with higher resting and relocating probabilities. We also found that the probability of relocating exponentially increased with warming ambient temperature. We found wild pigs relied on hard mast cover types for foraging and riparian corridors for relocating and resting, representing areas to target for removal. Managers may also choose to conduct removal during warmer ambient temperatures when wild pigs are more active. Additionally, relocating behavior was the most difficult to predict supporting removal of entire groups to reduce potential spread of wild pigs.