Understanding habitat co-occurrence and the potential for competition between native mammals and invasive wild pigs (Sus scrofa) at the northern edge of their range.
Invasive species are a major contributor to biodiversity loss worldwide. Wild pigs (Sus scrofa Linnaeus, 1758) are highly invasive in their introduced ranges; they modify habitat and threaten native species. As recent invaders in Canada, it is unknown what habitats wild pigs occupy at the northern edge of their range and how they affect mammalian diversity. We examined habitat factors that we predicted would affect co-occurrence of wild pigs with native mammals. We randomly placed 17 camera traps in four stratified habitat types (deciduous forest, grassland, cropland, and wetland) for 2 years to examine species co-occurrence in these habitats. We analyzed camera-trap data using nonmetric multidimensional scaling. Wild pig detection during winter was greatest in wetland and cropland and positively associated with occurrence of moose (Alces alces (Linnaeus, 1758)) and coyote (Canis latrans Say, 1823) and negatively associated with the presence of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus (Zimmermann, 1780)), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus (Rafinesque, 1817)), and humans. In summer, we detected wild pigs only in grassland; these detections were positively associated with moose and mule deer and negatively associated with domesticated cattle (Bos taurus Linnaeus, 1758), elk (Cervus canadensis Erxleben, 1777), and humans. We conclude that invasive wild pig occurrence at the northern edge of their Canadian range varies seasonally, by habitat, and is negatively affected by the presence of humans. Moreover, apparent co-occurrence with native fauna and avoidance of domestic species provides early evidence for potential competitive interactions.