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May 14, 2024

Expertise for Animals supports Vegan Bullerbyn with scientific facts.

New publication: What do domestic pigs and wild boars have in common?

The animal sanctuary Vegan Bullerbyn provides a loving and safe home for rescued non-human animals. Sheep, dogs, pigs and other non-human animals live on the farm under near-natural conditions.

Following a complaint by the responsible veterinary authority, the sanctuary asked Expertise for Animals for professional support.

The authority criticized the fact that the wild boar Gezi was living "alone" in a group of domestic pigs. Gezi was brought to Vegan Bullerbyn as an orphaned newborn and grew up there among domestic pigs.

Our biologist Eva Seifert and our veterinarian Stephanie Kowalski reviewed the scientific literature on the social behavior of wild and domestic pigs. Their aim was to use this analysis to provide an assessment of the compatibility of boars and domestic pigs living together.

We would like to thank Vegan Bullerbyn for the excellent cooperation. We are pleased to be able to provide the resulting document on our website free of charge.

Aim of the Literature Review

Until the complaint by the veterinary office, Vegan Bullerbyn had no doubt that Gezi was well integrated into the group.

Juvenile piglet Gezi with an older domestic pig. They stand parallel to each other with body contact

Due to the authority's criticism, Vegan Bullerbyn wanted us to check whether the criticism was justified and scientifically verifiable. Based on the existing scientific literature, we compared the social behavior of domestic and wild pigs. The aim was to determine whether cohabitation in this constellation fulfills the needs of the female wild boar Gezi.

Research gap: Domestic pigs in a semi-natural environment

During our research, we came across the fact that there are only a few studies that deal with domestic pigs in a semi-natural environment. Most studies relate to domestic pigs that are kept for food production and whose behavioral repertoire is therefore severely restricted.

Wild boars that do not live in human care are also forced to adapt their behavior to external circumstances. For example, wild boars, which were originally active during the day, are increasingly resting during the day and becoming active in the evening. Scientists attribute this change in resting behavior to the high hunting pressure.

We are often unaware of the natural behavior of non-human animals that are not under human control. Under semi-natural conditions, we get a vague idea of them.

Results of our research

The available studies show that domestic and wild pigs have many similarities and parallels in their social behavior. In addition, they can adapt individually to different environmental conditions and social interactions.

The results of our literature research show that the behavioral patterns and social structures of wild and domestic pigs have clear similarities. These similarities create the basis for species-appropriate interaction.

This finding is particularly relevant when wild animals have to be kept in human care due to unforeseen individual cases. In such cases, it is important to place the animals in species-appropriate social groups in order to promote their well-being and natural behavior. This is also the case with Gezi.

The entire research results are only available in German, as it was conducted for a German-speaking sanctuary. If you are interested in more detailed findings, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Expertise for Animals. Similarities in the Social Behaviour of Domestic Pigs and Wild Boars.


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