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Italian Wolf Prefers Wild Boar, Valuable Insight For Farmers And Conservationists

New research from a group of British scientists has provided a more detailed look into the selective diet of wolves living in northwestern Italy.

Wolves are an apex predator across Europe and the new insights could translate into more informed conservation strategies for policymakers as well as better protective measures for the region’s livestock industry, which can be affected by wolf predation.

According to the researchers’ report in the journal PLOS ONE, the wolves heavily preferred wild boar in their diet, which made up about two thirds of their total prey biomass. Roe deer accounted for the final third of the wolves’ diet.

The study’s findings were based on the remains of prey taken from almost 2,000 samples of wolf dung found near Tuscany over a period of nine years. The researchers also found that an increase in roe deer predation only happened in years when the boar population was lower. By contrast, the relative abundance of roe deer had no impact on the rate at which they were hunted so long as the boar population was stable.

“Our research demonstrates a consistent selection for wild boar among wolves in the study area, which could affect other prey species such as roe deer,” said lead author Miranda Davis, from the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Durham University…

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