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Even generalist and resilient species are affected by anthropic disturbance: evidence from wild boar activity patterns in a Mediterranean landscape

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A Correction to this article was published on 09 April 2022

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Humans have negatively impacted most ecosystems on Earth, altering how species use habitats and resources available to them, but also their circadian rhythms. Among many factors affecting animal activity patterns, conversion of native habitat into production forests and hunting are critical, and their impacts may be exacerbated by seasonal weather conditions. Both these factors are issues in Mediterranean Europe, especially in Portugal. Nevertheless, their impact on native species behavior remains largely unknown, even for generalist species often resilient to human disturbance such as wild boar (Sus scrofa). Therefore, we assessed temporal activity patterns of wild boar in Portugal to explore differences between habitats (native forest versus Eucalyptus plantations), hunting and non-hunting periods, or between seasons. We found that wild boars were primarily nocturnal, with greater nighttime activity more evident during the dry season and within plantations. Furthermore, they appeared to avoid dusk during the hunting season. Together, these patterns indicate that even a species typically resilient to disturbance and environmental change, such as wild boar, tends to avoid adverse weather conditions and disturbance factors, namely high daytime temperatures in summer and probability of encountering forestry workers or hunters. Accordingly, other more sensitive or resource-demanding mammals may also be affected, so evaluating the impacts of the studied anthropic drivers on other mammals should be prioritized to provide information for sustainable plantation management and hunting.

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The datasets generated during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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We would like to thank The Navigator Company for providing logistical support crucial to develop our study.


This work was financially supported by project POCI-01-0145-FEDER-028204 (WildForests) funded by FEDER, through COMPETE2020 - Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização (POCI), and by national funds (OE) through FCT/MCTES (CESAM: UIDP/50017/2020+UIDB/50017/2020+ LA/P/0094/2020; cE3c: UIDB/00329/2020), and FEDER co-funding within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement and Compete 2020; FCT/MCTES PhD Grant (SFRH/BD/131608/2017; DT).

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Conceptualization: LMR. Methodology: LMR, CC. Formal analysis and investigation: DT, CC, GC, AM, GP, CL. Writing — original draft preparation: LMR. Writing — review and editing: LMR, DT, CC, GC, AM, GP, CL, CF. Funding acquisition: LMR, CF. Resources: LMR, CF. Supervision: LMR, CF.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Luís M. Rosalino.

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Camera-trapping was authorized by the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF) (Capture licenses 343/2019/PERTURBAÇÃO, 344/2019/PERTURBAÇÃO, 11/2020/PERTURBAÇÃO, 12/2020/PERTURBAÇÃO).

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Communicated by: Rafał Kowalczyk

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The original online version of this article was revised: In the abstract section, the word "wet" has been corrected to "dry".

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Rosalino, L.M., Teixeira, D., Camarinha, C. et al. Even generalist and resilient species are affected by anthropic disturbance: evidence from wild boar activity patterns in a Mediterranean landscape. Mamm Res 67, 317–325 (2022).

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