Effects of Rhodamine B on Palatability of Invasive Wild Pig Baits
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.5070/V42811018
Biomarkers have been used to quantify consumption of toxicants and other pharmaceutical baits by free ranging wildlife populations. Previous research has tested the efficacy and persistence of Rhodamine B (RB) as a biomarker in invasive wild pigs. However, little information is available about effects of RB on palatability of baits meant for invasive wild pigs, and studies have shown that the addition of RB to otherwise palatable baits reduces consumption by some species. HOGGONE® has been identified as an effective sodium nitrite-based oral toxicant for invasive wild pigs in trials conducted in captive pen trials. We simultaneously conducted five separate 2-choice tests to examine potential differences in consumption between HOGGONE® placebo paste (standard placebo) and HOGGONE® placebo paste containing 0.5% RB (RB placebo) in five groups of three invasive wild pigs. Each group was simultaneously presented with equal amounts of standard placebo and RB placebo paste for one night and monitored with remote cameras. Remaining bait was weighed and subtracted from the initial weight of both feed types to calculate consumption. There were no differences in the total amount of bait consumed or the time spent feeding between the two bait types across all five groups. Results of this study suggest that the addition of RB does not negatively impact consumption of HOGGONE® placebo paste by groups of invasive wild pigs. Thus, we provide more evidence that RB will be a useful tool for research on wild pigs, such as estimating proportions of free-ranging populations consuming baits that contain toxins or pharmaceuticals.