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Estimating the Postmortem Interval of Wild Boar Carcasses

Knowledge on the postmortem interval (PMI) of wild boar (Sus scrofa) carcasses is crucial in the event of an outbreak of African swine fever in a wild boar population. Therefore, a thorough understanding of the decomposition process of this species in different microhabitats is necessary. We describe the decomposition process of carcasses exposed in cages. Trial 1 compared a wild boar and a domestic pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) under similar conditions; Trial 2 was performed with three wild boar piglets in the sunlight, shade, or in a wallow, and Trial 3 with two adult wild boar in the sun or shade. The wild boar decomposed more slowly than the domestic pig, which shows that standards derived from forensic studies on domestic pigs are not directly applicable to wild boar. The carcasses exposed to the sun decomposed faster than those in the shade did, and the decomposition of the carcass in the wallow took longest. To assess the state of decomposition, we adapted an existing total body scoring system originally developed for humans. Based on our studies, we propose a checklist tailored to wild boar carcasses found in the field that includes the most important information for a reliable PMI estimation.


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