In recent decades, wild boars (Sus scrofa) have increased in numbers and distribution in Europe. Compared to other wild ungulates of similar body size, wild boars have a high reproductive capacity. To increase the knowledge of wild boar reproduction, the objective of this study was to investigate characteristics of reproductive organs, and to provide information on the occurrence of abnormalities in reproductive organs from free-ranging female wild boars. Between December 2011 and December 2015, reproductive organs from female wild boars (>30 kg body weight), were collected during hunting in four Swedish counties at estates where supplementary feeding was applied. The organs were macroscopically examined and measured. The stage of the reproductive cycle was defined according to the ovarian structures and in relation to uterus characteristics. Observed abnormalities were noted. The results from 569 animals that met the requirements to be included in this study showed significant differences in weight and length of the uterus between the various reproductive stages. Sampling region had significant effect on these differences. Abnormalities in the reproductive organs were present in approximately 10% of the examined animals. The prevalence of abnormalities increased significantly with age and was significantly affected by sampling region.
The number and spatial distribution of wild boars (Sus scrofa) has increased remarkably in Sweden as well as in other European countries. To understand the population dynamics of the wild boar, knowledge of its reproductive period, oestrus cycle and reproductive success is essential. The aim of this study was therefore to describe the seasonal reproductive pattern and reproductive potential of a wild boar population in Sweden. The study was based on findings from macroscopic examinations of the reproductive organs from 575 hunter-harvested female wild boars (>30 kg body weight). Samples were collected between December 2011 and December 2015 in the southern and middle parts of Sweden. The age of the sampled animals was determined and dressed weight was noted. The stage of the reproductive cycle was defined according to ovarian structures and in relation to the appearance of/and findings in the uterus. The crown-rump length (CRL) of the embryos/foetuses was used to calculate the oestrus/mating month and month for the expected farrowing.
The macroscopic examination revealed a seasonal variation of reproductive stages, although cyclic and pregnant females were found in all seasons. Moreover, the estimated oestrus/mating and farrowing months based on the CRL showed that mating and farrowing may occur 'off-season'. The average litter size (no. of embryos or foetuses) per pregnant female was 5.4. Sow weight and age had significant effect on both the reproductive potential (ovulation rate and litter size) and pregnancy rate, respectively.
The reproductive potential in the studied wild boar population was high compared to studies from other countries and farrowing may occur 'off-season'. This suggests that the environmental conditions in Sweden, including supplemental feeding, are favourable for wild boar reproduction.
The wild boar ( Sus scrofa) population has increased markedly during the last three decades in Sweden and in other parts of Europe. This population growth may lead to increased contact between the wild boar and the domestic pig ( Sus scrofa scrofa), increasing the risk of transmission of pathogens. The objective of our study was to estimate the seroprevalence of selective pathogens, known to be shared between wild boars and domestic pigs in Europe, in three wild boar populations in Sweden. In total, 286 hunter-harvested female wild boars were included in this study. The sera were analyzed for antibodies against nine pathogens using different commercial or in-house enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Antibodies were detected against porcine parvovirus (78.0%), porcine circovirus type 2 (99.0%), swine influenza virus (3.8%), Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae (17.5%), Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (24.8%), and Toxoplasma gondii (28.6%). No antibodies were detected against porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome virus, Brucella suis, or Mycobacterium bovis. Our results highlight the potential importance of the wild boar as a reservoir for pathogens potentially transmissible to domestic pigs and which also may affect human health.