The global impact of wild pigs (Sus scrofa) on terrestrial biodiversity

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species is a comprehensive database of over 120,000 species and is a powerful tool to evaluate the threat of invasive species to global biodiversity. Several problematic species have gained global recognition due to comprehensive threat assessments quantifying the threat these species pose to biodiversity using large datasets like the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, the global threat of wild pigs (Sus scrofa) to biodiversity is still poorly understood despite well-documented ecosystem level impacts. In this study, we utilized the IUCN Red List to quantify the impacts of this globally distributed species throughout its native and non-native range. Here we show that wild pigs threaten 672 taxa in 54 different countries across the globe. Most of these taxa are listed as critically endangered or endangered and 14 species have been driven to extinction as a direct result of impacts from wild pigs.

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Fig: Number of taxa described as threatened by wild pigs on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species for each of the 17 regions. Percentage of taxa threatened by wild pigs in relation to all taxa present in each region is included in parentheses. The non-native ranges provided by Lewis et al. 2017 (dotted hatched areas) and native ranges provided by the IUCN Red List (solid hatched areas) are shown. This map was created using ArcGIS Pro version 2.5.0

Our results show that threats from wild pigs are pervasive across taxonomic groups and that island endemics and taxa throughout the non-native range of wild pigs are particularly vulnerable.

Risch, D.R., Ringma, J. & Price, M.R. The global impact of wild pigs (Sus scrofa) on terrestrial biodiversity. Sci Rep 11, 13256 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-92691-1

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