Demography of Feral Pig Populations at Fort Benning, Georgia
Type of DegreeThesis
Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
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Feral pigs are an ecologically harmful invasive species that wildlife managers have been unsuccessful at controlling. Understanding the demography and population dynamics of a species is necessary to create successful management strategies because the most effective way to reduce population growth is to target the vital rate which has the largest potential to influence the population growth rate (?). I estimated survival, recruitment, ?, and the sensitivity of ? to changes in vital rates for a control population and a treatment population, where a lethal removal management strategy was implemented. I also created novel density estimation methods to address known biases in closed capture-mark-recapture methods. Reducing total survival via lethal removal was successful in reducing feral pig population growth; however the most effective management strategy to reduce ? would be to target juvenile survival. Survival and recruitment rates varied seasonally. Density was difficult to estimate because feral pigs have low and heterogeneous capture probabilities.