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Journal Articles Preventive Veterinary Medicine Year : 2022

Effects of habitat fragmentation and hunting activities on African swine fever dynamics among wild boar populations

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Abstract

African Swine Fever (ASF) has been slowly but steadily increasing its endemic range throughout Europe, posing an imminent risk to the pig industry. ASF transmission among wild boar occurs mainly through wild boar population movements, hence wild boar presence and density are important risk factors for introducing, maintaining, and spreading the disease. The understanding of wild boar population dynamics and their role in ASF transmission and persistence remains limited. It is crucial to gain knowledge in this area to improve wildlife management while minimizing the risks for ASF introduction and spread. We adapted an individual-based spatio-temporal stochastic model developed by Halasa et al. (2019) and tailored it to two regions in France. The model assessed yearly hunting activity, the carcass persistence seasonality, and the specific landscape characteristics of the Franco-Belgian border region and the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department. Following the establishment of local population dynamics through preliminary runs of the model, the model was run 100 iterations over 8 years in the two study areas where ASF was randomly seeded after the 2nd year of simulation. For each scenario, the model was initiated with 500 wild boar groups randomly spread across the study areas. Hunting activities were included and excluded to assess the impact on population growth and ASF spread. Results showed an ever-growing wild boar population for all scenarios, which was balanced when hunting activities were included. When introducing ASF, the wild boar populations were dramatically impacted in both areas with a decrease of 63 % of the population at the Franco-Belgian border and 86 % in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department. Habitat fragmentation and landscape connectivity were highlighted as important factors shaping ASF propagation. The Franco-Belgian border, which had the most fragmented habitat with unsuitable areas for wild boars, was shown to limit wild boar movements, reducing the probability, and spread of ASF across the landscape. The lack of connectivity was reflected in a less effective transmission and lower number of infected groups (406 versus 467). In contrast, the epidemic duration was lengthened in the fragmented habitat compared to the homogenous area (2.6 years vs 1.6 years). This study provided information on defining and implementing control measures in case of an ASF incursion, since delimitation of the area via fences artificially induces landscape fragmentation, which is important for controlling ASF outbreaks.
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Origin : Publication funded by an institution

Dates and versions

anses-03879845 , version 1 (30-11-2022)

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Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives - CC BY 4.0

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Luis G. Salazar, Nicolas Rose, Brandon Hayes, Pachka Hammami, Eric Baubet, et al.. Effects of habitat fragmentation and hunting activities on African swine fever dynamics among wild boar populations. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 2022, 208, pp.105750. ⟨10.1016/j.prevetmed.2022.105750⟩. ⟨anses-03879845⟩
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