Mori, E., Benatti, L., Lovari, S., & Ferretti, F. (2016). What does the wild boar mean to the wolf? European Journal of Wildlife Research, 63(1), 9.
Abstract: Generalist predators are expected to shape their diets according to the local availability of prey species. In turn, the extent of consumption of a prey would be influenced by the number of alternative prey species. We have tested this prediction by considering the wild boar and the grey wolf: two widespread species whose distribution ranges overlap largely in Southern Europe, e.g. in Italy. We have reviewed 16 studies from a total of 21 study areas, to assess whether the absolute frequency of occurrence of wild boar in the wolf diet was influenced by (i) occurrence of the other ungulate species in diet and (ii) the number of available ungulate species. Wild boar turned out to be the main prey of the wolf (49% occurrence, on average), followed by roe deer (24%) and livestock (18%). Occurrence of wild boar in the wolf diet decreased with increasing usage of roe deer, livestock, and to a lower extent, chamois and red deer. The number of prey species did not influence the occurrence of wild boar in the wolf diet. The wild boar is a gregarious, noisy and often locally abundant ungulate, thus easily detectable, to a predator. In turn, the extent of predation on this ungulate may not be influenced so much by the availability of other potential prey. Heavy artificial reductions of wild boar numbers, e.g. through numerical control, may concentrate predation by wolves on alternative prey (e.g. roe deer) and/or livestock, thus increasing conflicts with human activities.