We assessed age-specific natural mortality (i.e., excluding hunting mortality) and hunting mortality of 1,175 male and 1,076 female wild boar (Sus scrofa) from Châteauvillain-Arc en Barrois (eastern France), using a 22-year dataset (1982–2004) and mark–recapture–recovery methods. Overall yearly mortality was >50% for all sex and age-classes. Low survival was mostly due to high hunting mortality; a wild boar had a >40% of chance of being harvested annually, and this risk was as high as 70% for adult males. Natural mortality rates of wild boar were similar for males and females (approx. 0.15). These rates were comparable to rates typical of male ungulates but high for female ungulates. Wild boar survival did not vary across sex and age-classes. Despite high hunting mortality, we did not detect evidence of compensatory mortality. Whereas natural mortality for males was constant over time, female mortality varied annually, independent of fluctuations in mast availability. Female wild boar survival patterns differed from those reported in other ungulates, with high and variable natural mortality. In other ungulates, natural mortality is typically low and stable across a wide range of environmental conditions. These differences may partly reflect high litter sizes for wild boar, which carries high energetic costs. High hunting mortality may induce a high investment of females in reproduction early in life, at the detriment to survival. Despite high hunting mortality, the study population increased. Effective population control of wild boar should target a high harvest rate of piglets and reproductive females.
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Vol. 72 • No. 7