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The Epidemiology of African Swine Fever, Its Complexity and the Requirement for Multiple Solution Approaches

What Do Lithuanian Hunters Think of African Swine Fever and Its Control—Perceptions

Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Veterinary Academy, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Tilzes 18, LT-47181 Kaunas, Lithuania
Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Südufer 10, 17493 Greifswald, Germany
Emergency Response Department, State Food and Veterinary Service, Siesiku 19, LT-07170 Vilnius, Lithuania
Dr. L Kriauceliunas Small Animal Clinic, Veterinary Academy, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Tilzes Str.18, LT-47181 Kaunas, Lithuania
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Marina Von Keyserlingk and Robert M. Friendship
Animals 2021, 11(2), 525;
Received: 31 December 2020 / Revised: 2 February 2021 / Accepted: 15 February 2021 / Published: 18 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue African Swine Fever – Knowledge, Theses, Facts)
Effectiveness and successful implementation of control measures greatly depend on hunters’ willingness and motivation to carry out these measures. Therefore, assessing their opinions regarding the current system is paramount in order to achieve the best possible results. The present study provides insights of hunters’ attitudes and perceptions about measures to control African swine fever (ASF) in wild boar in Lithuania. This study highlights several measures that are not supported by hunters (i.e., restriction of hunting, selective female hunting, ban of supplementary feeding, involvement of additional forces in ASF control) and possible motivational options (i.e., reduction of work, financial incentives and improved feedback and relationships with government officials). Considering these findings when planning and altering control measures for ASF could improve their successful implementation in the field.
After the introduction of African swine fever (ASF) into Lithuania in 2014, continuous spread of the disease resulted in infection of the wild boar populations in most parts of Lithuania. The virus has been moving closer to other Western European countries where pig density is high. An efficient surveillance system detecting ASF cases early in domestic and wild animals is necessary to manage this disease. To make surveillance appropriate and effective, it is critical to understand how key players perceive the implemented control measures. This study investigated the attitudes and beliefs of hunters in Lithuania regarding currently implemented or proposed measures for the control of ASF in the wild boar population. Study data were collected through questionnaires distributed via the internet and by hunting associations in Lithuania. In total, 621 fully completed questionnaires were received and analyzed. All measures interfering with extensive hunting, like ban of driven or individual hunting or ban of supplementary feeding were considered as unacceptable and as ineffective measures to control ASF in wild boar. However, selective hunting of female wild boar was generally considered as an unethical act and therefore rejected. Some measures that seem to have been successful in other countries, like involvement of additional forces, were rejected by Lithuanian hunters, thus implementation of these measures could be difficult. The study highlighted that there is a need for improving important relationships with other stakeholders, since many hunters expressed a lack of trust in governmental institutions and regarded cooperation with them as insufficient. Hunters emphasized that their motivation to support passive surveillance measures could be improved with financial compensation and reduction of workload. The present study provides insights into hunters’ perceptions, which may be used as a foundation for additional discussions with these important stakeholders and for adapting measures to improve their acceptance if appropriate. View Full-Text
Keywords: African swine fever; wild boar; acceptability; surveillance African swine fever; wild boar; acceptability; surveillance
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MDPI and ACS Style

Stončiūtė, E.; Schulz, K.; Malakauskas, A.; Conraths, F.J.; Masiulis, M.; Sauter-Louis, C. What Do Lithuanian Hunters Think of African Swine Fever and Its Control—Perceptions. Animals 2021, 11, 525.

AMA Style

Stončiūtė E, Schulz K, Malakauskas A, Conraths FJ, Masiulis M, Sauter-Louis C. What Do Lithuanian Hunters Think of African Swine Fever and Its Control—Perceptions. Animals. 2021; 11(2):525.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Stončiūtė, Evelina, Katja Schulz, Alvydas Malakauskas, Franz J. Conraths, Marius Masiulis, and Carola Sauter-Louis. 2021. "What Do Lithuanian Hunters Think of African Swine Fever and Its Control—Perceptions" Animals 11, no. 2: 525.

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