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Article

Indirect Effect of African Swine Fever on the Diet Composition of the Gray Wolf Canis lupus—A Case Study in Belarus

1
Department of Animal Genetics and Conservation, Warsaw University of Life Sciences-SGGW, Ciszewskiego 8, 02-786 Warsaw, Poland
2
Department of Animal Breeding, Warsaw University of Life Sciences-SGGW, Ciszewskiego 8, 02-786 Warsaw, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Serena Montagnaro
Animals 2021, 11(6), 1758; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061758
Received: 20 April 2021 / Revised: 31 May 2021 / Accepted: 10 June 2021 / Published: 12 June 2021
The wild boar population decreased drastically in Eastern Europe after the emergence of a viral disease called African Swine Fever. We studied how the gray wolves’ diet changed in two regions in Belarus during this situation. Wolves mainly hunted wild boar, elk, red deer, roe deer and beaver. The decrease in the wild boar population caused changes in the diet of wolves, but only in Vitebsk region. After the decrease in the wild boar population, wolves in this region hunted wild boar less, but they hunted roe deer and red deer more. The more the wolves consumed wild boar, the less they consumed both deer species (roe deer and red deer). Moreover, the more the wolves consumed elk, the less they consumed beaver. In another region, Grodno, no changes in the wolves’ diet were found.
After the emergence of African swine fever (ASF), the wild boar population numbers fell drastically in Eastern Europe. This situation made it possible to verify the changes in the wolves’ diet that occurred. The material collection was carried out in two regions, Grodno and Vitebsk, in Belarus. In total, 19 species/groups of prey were observed in the gray wolf diet, but the most important were wild boar, elk, red deer, roe deer and beaver. The decrease in the number of wild boar caused changes in the diet of wolves but only in Vitebsk region, where wolves’ diet before the ASF epidemic outbreak consisted mainly of elk and wild boar. After the decrease of wild boar numbers, wolves still mainly hunted elk, but other types of prey included roe deer, red deer and beaver. We found a negative correlation between wild boar and both deer species (roe deer and red deer) in the wolves’ diet. Moreover, the more the wolves consumed elk, the less they consumed beaver. In our opinion, only intensive hunting of wolves by humans can explain the resulting dietary fluctuations between elk and beaver, as well as the fact that wolves did not turn to other food sources. View Full-Text
Keywords: ASF; epidemic; gray wolf; wild boar; deer; elk; beaver; diet; Belarus ASF; epidemic; gray wolf; wild boar; deer; elk; beaver; diet; Belarus
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MDPI and ACS Style

Klich, D.; Yanuta, G.; Sobczuk, M.; Balcerak, M. Indirect Effect of African Swine Fever on the Diet Composition of the Gray Wolf Canis lupus—A Case Study in Belarus. Animals 2021, 11, 1758. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061758

AMA Style

Klich D, Yanuta G, Sobczuk M, Balcerak M. Indirect Effect of African Swine Fever on the Diet Composition of the Gray Wolf Canis lupus—A Case Study in Belarus. Animals. 2021; 11(6):1758. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061758

Chicago/Turabian Style

Klich, Daniel, Grigorij Yanuta, Maria Sobczuk, and Marek Balcerak. 2021. "Indirect Effect of African Swine Fever on the Diet Composition of the Gray Wolf Canis lupus—A Case Study in Belarus" Animals 11, no. 6: 1758. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061758

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