FEATURES » Wild Boar Population soaring

Wild Boar Population soaring

Italy has been facing a wild boar emergency in the last years, as their number has increased invading also big cities. Wild boar is an important animal in Italy.  There are many dishes in the Italian tradition based on the meat of wild boar: wild boar stew, ragù, and sweet and sour wild boar, just to name a few. In the early 1900s the wild boar was only in some areas: the Maremma Tosco-Lazio, Gargano, Abruzzo, Calabro-Lucano Apennines, Sardinia. Since the 1960s, the wild boar was repopulated due to the introduction of European wild-boar species. Another reason for the increase in the wild boar population was farmland being abandoned leaving more space for wild animals.

We do not even know exactly how many wild boars there are because there has never been a census. We speak of a million specimens, but these numbers are completely hypothetical. The problem is the lack of management at central level, in other words, each region should decide whether and how to intervene to reduce their number by hunting them or other interventions, such as sterilisation on the basis of some (very generic) "Guidelines" drawn up by Irpra, the Central Institute for the Protection of the Environment.

Authorities estimate that there are at least a million wild boars roaming the Italian countryside, up from 600,00 a decade ago. They have no natural predators apart from wolves, which are making a comeback in Italy but not in sufficient numbers to curb the increase of the wild boar population.

Rome has seen in the last years an escalation of damages, aggressions and accidents, including casualties due to wild boars freely venturing into the city.  The council has considered the possibility of using an “immune-vaccine” to sterilise the boars, to drastically reduce their numbers in the city.

There are well over a million boars in Italy and their presence extended from the countryside to urban contexts. The Farmers’ association “Coldiretti” reported that over the past ten years the number of boars present in Italy has practically doubled, with a consequent security risk.

Rome is not alone in its fight against wild boars. In Genoa the authorities have given permission for them to be shot. The city council reassured the citizens that shooting will be carried out under tight control. The aim is to ensure public safety, hygiene and health. Anyone caught feeding wild boar in Genoa will be fined 50 euros. 

Other European cities also have problems with wild boars, such as Berlin and Marseilles where boars and their piglets invaded nearby beaches.

Giulia Lombardo

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