Biological Invasions

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 11–24 | Cite as

Coping with wild boar in a conservation area: impacts of a 10-year management control program in north-eastern Argentina

  • Ricardo E. Gürtler
  • V. Martín Izquierdo
  • Guillermo Gil
  • Marcelo Cavicchia
  • Aristóbulo Maranta
Original Paper


Wild boar (Sus scrofa) are of serious concern in numerous conservation areas such as El Palmar National Park, Argentina, where their increasing abundance affected the iconic palm tree Butia yatay. We assessed the effectiveness of an innovative management control program on wild boar population dynamics and ground rooting area over 10 years. Park personnel recruited and supervised local recreational hunters who regularly conducted controlled still shooting from widely distributed watchtowers and used trained dogs mainly during the first 2 years post-intervention (YPI). We used the detailed records of harvest and hunting effort to estimate time- and stage-specific catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) indices and stochastic population growth rates (μ). Catch was linearly related to hunting effort except at large effort levels. CPUE indices declined exponentially at 5–7 % month−1 over 0–1 YPI and thereafter stabilized with μ indistinguishable from 0. Relative to baseline levels, culling reduced annual pregnancy rates, the fraction of juveniles and older adults, and ground rooting area below target values (<1.3 %). Incipient population recovery followed one of two periods of marginal hunting effort. The program generated few undesirable collateral effects mainly related to dog-hunting. Mesopredator abundance (foxes) steadily increased following a large outbreak of canine distemper at baseline. The combined use of standardized CPUE indices, body-length data and simple population viability analysis models provided reliable metrics for wild boar trend analysis and management. Unlike a preceding plan, a highly structured multi-stakeholder program proved to be sustainable and brought wild boar abundance to a low-density, unstable equilibrium causing minimal damage.


Conservation areas Sustainability Wild boar Population dynamics Wildlife management Ungulates 



The management program of exotic ungulates at El Palmar National Park is a collective undertaking nurtured by the untiring commitment of APN personnel to the conservation mission: A. Delaloye, E. Jones, J. Yone, G. Brossard, J. Ballay, A. Luggren, J. Zermathen, R. Antunez, E. Alzogaray, G. Gaillard, L. Rey, E. Francisconi, J. Colodro, L. Loyza, J. Baliño, M. Panziera, E. Munich, E. Bouvet, N. Abdala, V. Jones, L. Barrios Caro, N. Zermathen, M. Cardoso, L. Rivas, N. Ballay, A. Faure, E. Irazoqui, volunteers and members of the Hunting Club for Conservation “Tierra de Palmares”. Park map was prepared by Julio Baliño. Weather data were provided by Servicio Meteorológico Nacional. REG thanks the advice provided by Jean-Pierre Dujardin, Sol Gaspe, Lucía Rodríguez Planes and María del Pilar Fernández. The participation of REG was supported by University of Buenos Aires and Fundación Bunge and Born. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish and preparation of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ricardo E. Gürtler
    • 1
  • V. Martín Izquierdo
    • 2
  • Guillermo Gil
    • 3
  • Marcelo Cavicchia
    • 3
  • Aristóbulo Maranta
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratory of Eco-Epidemiology, Department of Ecology, Genetics and EvolutionUniversidad de Buenos Aires-IEGEBA (CONICET-UBA), Ciudad UniversitariaBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Parque Nacional Los AlercesAdministración de Parques NacionalesVilla FutalaufquenArgentina
  3. 3.Delegación Regional del Noreste ArgentinoAdministración de Parques NacionalesPuerto IguazúArgentina
  4. 4.Parque Nacional El PalmarAdministración de Parques NacionalesUbajayArgentina

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