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ISSN : 2287-7991(Print)
ISSN : 2287-8009(Online)
Journal of the Preventive Veterinary Medicine Vol.45 No.1 pp.44-52
DOI : https://doi.org/10.13041/jpvm.2021.45.1.44

A preliminary investigation into the decomposition rate of wild boar carcasses in forest habitats

Hee-Kyeung Cho,Eu-Tteum Kim,Bong-Su Jung,Son-Il Pak
College of Veterinary Medicine and Institute of Veterinary Science, Kangwon National University;
College of Veterinary Medicine and Institute of Veterinary Science, Kangwon National University;
Animal Quarantine Division;
College of Veterinary Medicine and Institute of Veterinary Science, Kangwon National University

Abstract

The estimation of the postmortem interval (PMI, the time that has elapsed since the death) is a critical issue for the biosecurity enforcement officers who implement to the timely establishment of biosecurity zone for preventing susceptible animals from disease transmission given the rapid occurrence of an infectious disease. Increasing attention has been paid to PMI of wild boar (Sus scrofa) carcasses associated with African swine fever epidemics in Korea since October 2019 to explain the geographical transmission of the disease, as well as to provide potential target animals for prevention measures in terms of farm biosecurity. This study is, to the best of our knowledge, the first to describe the decomposition process of wild boars in different microhabitats in the country. In the present comparative study, we obtained field data from the decomposition process of the wild boar and domestic pig carcasses continuously exposed aboveground in natural environment settings allowing animal scavenging. This study compared the pattern of decomposition in 16 wild boar carrion and 10 domestic pig carcasses placed between August and November 2019. Quite differences in decomposition rate measured by total body score and tissue's gross morphology over time were observed between wild boars and domestic pigs. Overall, the wild boar decomposed much more slowly than the domestic pig throughout the end of the experimental period. In addition, color changes to the skin were easily seen in domestic pigs, whereas there is much variation in the wild boar, especially carcasses placed in late autumn. Moreover, some wild boar carcasses did not show any sign of bloating. These results indicate that decomposition rates derived from forensic taphonomic studies on domestic pigs may be not directly applicable to the wild boar, hence there is a need to develop regional decomposition models to be employed in different geographical situations to increase the accuracy of PMI of wild boar carcasses.

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