PhD Research: Management of wild boar in a protected national park situated in a highly urbanized region ensuring acceptable nuisance for stakeholders

Project Details


In order to better understand the complexity of the management of wild boar in the NPHK, an analysis of the current legal framework regarding management of wild boar (Sus scrofa) will be made. This analysis has to reveal the pitfalls and problems possibly hindering an efficient wild boar management. Starting from relevant international and/or European legislation regarding wild boar, with special attention to the legislation concerning protected areas in Flanders, an analysis towards the coherence and contradictions within the current legislation will be performed.

By using a non-invasive method, camera trapping, and by involving citizens in the processing of the output and evaluating the outcome, the presence of wild boar within the NPHK and changes in population abundance and distribution will be monitored.

Simultaneously the impacts valued by each of the stakeholder groups will be identified and ranked in order to evaluate the feasibility of a participative impact management for an important large game species, such as wild boar (Sus scrofa), living within an urban protected area.
For a subset of the identified impacts - based on their importance and feasibility of data collection - the current situation in and around the NPHK will be assessed and monitored during the period of this project.
The objectives can be stated as follows:

• To analyse the legal framework regarding Sus scrofa related to conservation, hunting, damage to cropland and other issues in order to assess whether the current legislation is adequate for an appropriate impact management of wild boar or whether additions are necessary.

• To identify the impacts valued by stakeholders (managers, general public, hunters, farmers, nature conservation) in relation to the presence and management of wild boar in the NPHK. For this purpose the impacts identified during the research project on wild boar in the province of Limburg (Casaer et al. 2013) will be used to start from. Subsequently the identified impacts will be ranked according to their importance for each of the stakeholder groups.

• To assess the current status for a subset of impacts - based on their importance and practicality of data collection.

• To use camera traps to set up a long term study of the ecology of wild boar within the core protected area of the national park. For this we will - if possible - use citizen science to relate number of animals photographed with hunting pressures, foraging behaviour, habitat preferences and assess the perception of different impacts on stakeholders.

By combining the results of the different objectives, this research will contribute to a better understanding of the ecology and spatial use of wild boar, the impact of the presence of this game species on different stakeholder communities. This knowledge should contribute to provide more sound advice towards conservation and management policies of a large wildlife species in an urban protected area. Existing legislation is not designed to include the ‘rewilding’ strategy of very urbanized regions, such as Flanders. This study could be the first to anticipate towards new upcoming ‘lost’ species.
Effective start/end date1/07/1631/12/21

Thematic list

  • Hunting (sectors)
  • Damage management
  • Hunting (species policy)
  • Naure and forest reserves

Thematic List 2020

  • Wildlife management
  • Nature & society
  • Data & infrastructure