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Tagging Piglets at the Farrowing Nest in the Wild: Some Preliminary Guidelines

Author(s): BAUBET, Eric | SERVANTY, Sabrina | BRANDT, Serge

Journal: Acta Silvatica & Lignaria Hungarica
ISSN 1786-691X

Volume: 5;
Start page: 159;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Sus scrofa | post-natal survival | farrowing nest | wild boar piglet | transponder | telemetry

Neonate ungulate often show high rates of mortality due to predation, starvation, orexposure to bad weather, leading to losses frequently exceeding 50%. Wild boar piglets are known tosuffer from thermoregulation insufficiency, which probably explain the nest construction behaviour insows. We thus tried to develop a method for tagging piglets inside their farrowing (or birth) nest toassess piglet survival from few days after their birth onwards. Sows fitted-out with VHF collars wereradio-tracked to determine parturition time, and to get a rough idea of the possible birth nest location.Then, with a handled antenna we approached on foot the birth nest, and piglets were caught, taggedand fitted-out with a backpack transmitter and released inside the nest. Temporal movements ofmother and litter association were monitored, as long as possible. Results on sow behaviour and tacticagainst human approach, piglets body mass, piglet reaction, and survival in their early lifetime weredescribed.
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