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Tetracycline as an Ingestible Biological Marker for Feral Pigs

  • Author(s): Reidy, Matthew M.
  • Campbell, Tyler A.
  • Hewitt, David G.
  • et al.
Abstract

Tetracycline hydrochloride (THC) is an ingestible antibiotic that produces a fluorescent mark on growing bone and may be combined with baits to aid ingestion by wildlife species. Feral pigs are an invasive species found throughout the United States. They are implicated in damages such as increased erosion, direct competition with native wildlife, destruction of habitat, disease transmission, and crop damage. Land managers are currently utilizing lethal and non-lethal control strategies to minimize damage. THC may be useful as a voluntary biological marker for feral pigs. Possible uses include mark recapture analysis, evaluation of large-scale movements, and determining the uptake of pharmaceuticals by feral pigs. We evaluated the palatability of THC for feral pigs, dosage necessary for adequate marking, and time necessary between ingestion and identification of marks. We found that feral pigs will consume THC when combined with palatable baits, that >150 mg THC is necessary for adequate marking, and that marks can be identified in teeth ≤7 days post ingestion.

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