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Wild Boar Alone Do Not Prevent Regeneration Of Oak Forests

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Wild Boar Alone Do Not Prevent Regeneration Of Oak Forests

Boar get the blame but there is more to it than fear mongers realize.

Whenever damage wrought to an environment by boar or wild pigs is discussed, tasty suidae roaming the forests (national or private or agricultural) get the blame. It is one of the tenets of official forestry that boar and their wild pig cousins destroy the regeneration of old growth oak forests in California by eating indiscriminately all or at least almost all of the acorn that drop to the forest floor.
Who can blame busy-body foresters in charge of precious natural resources to unload a heap of prejudice on their grunting, unwanted, invasive charges. Forget about deer that enjoy a good meal of freshly dropped acorn just as well as the porkers, forget the squirrels and other rodents that busy themselves during the fall season with hiding acorn, eating half a nut and dropping the rest and the equally invasive domestic cattle that are roaming our national forests freely.

Now a group of Hungarian researchers from the Institute of Wildlife Management and Vertebrate Zoology of the University of West Hungary have put an end to this myth – or at least modified it to match reality. Researchers András Náhlik, Jácint Lajos Gróf, Tamás Tari, Gyula Sándor engaged in some ‘introspection’ – of boar stomachs that is during the regular winter hunting season. First they collected the contents of 39 boar stomachs from adult and sub-adult boar in order to determine the amount of food consumed by the animals. Twenty-two adults consumed about 2,285 kg of food (5037.56 lbs) while 17 sub-adults put away 3227.56 pounds of food.
In order to determine the percentage of acorn eaten by the boar the researchers collected another 40 stomachs between October and January. The stomach contents were removed, washed and then sieved to separate the contents into their main elements. Acorn represented fifty-four percent of the contents of stomachs collected in the study area between October and February. Based on the data collected from the stomachs and on the estimated population size and its age-related composition the researchers calculated that the boar (adult and sub-adults) crunched up just over 26 metric tons (by dry weight ) of acorn (28.5 short tons).

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