The boar-operated-system: a novel method to deliver baits to wild pigs.
Bait-delivered pharmaceuticals, increasingly used to manage populations of wild boar (Sus scrofa) and feral pigs, may be ingested by nontarget species. Species-specificity could be achieved through a delivery system. We designed the BOSTM (Boar-Operated-System) as a device to deliver baits to wild pigs. The BOSTM consists of a metal pole onto which a round perforated base is attached. A metal cone with a wide rim slides up and down the pole and fully encloses the base onto which the baits are placed. We conducted a pilot, captive trial and found that captive wild boar fed from the BOSTM either directly, by lifting the cone, or indirectly, by feeding once another animal had lifted the cone. Thus, we tested whether free-living wild boar fed from the BOSTM and whether the BOSTM could prevent bait uptake by nontarget species. We observed that free-living wild boar fed regularly from the BOSTM and that the device successfully prevented bait uptake by nontarget species. The BOSTM should be trialed more extensively to confirm its effectiveness and species-specificity to distribute pharmaceuticals to wild suids. If successful, the BOSTM could be used to deliver vaccines in disease control programs as well as contraceptives to manage overabundant populations of wild suids.