31 Gennaio 2019

Rome hunts wild boar that live high on the hog

Herds of wild boar are foraging in the streets of Rome, endangering locals and visitors and prompting the city to send for marksmen to repulse the invasion. The move to bring hunters to the capital follows a growing list of injuries and even a death, all owing to run-ins between people and the swine. In September a 60-year-old woman was injured by a boar as she walked her dog in the Spinaceto neighbourhood. Another woman was trapped in her car when it was surrounded by an aggressive herd at the Insugherata park. A boar has been filmed galloping down a street near the Vatican, while two years ago a 49-year-old moped rider was killed after hitting one in the road. Some elderly Romans have shown no fear of the animals though, feeding them in a park on the Via Cassia. The city is planningning to stop the advance by dispatching hunters ers who would tranquil- lise rather than kill the animals before deciding whether they should be returned to the countryside or put down. The plan was devised by the govern- ment of Lazio, which ch surrounds Rome, in col-collaboration with the city,city, a regional spokesman said. The boar have beenen spotted gorging on food waste which is dumped on pavements next to overflowing bins left uncollected by Rome’ s misfiring rubbish collectors. Carlo RRienzi, the presidentdent of the Italian consumersume group Codacons,con said that the rubrubbish was not to blamebl for the risingri numbers. “This is a result of theth amazing growth in Italy’ s wild boar populatio tion, which means they are increasingly venturingve into the city,” hhe said. The ppopulation has surged to aboutabou a million after a fast- fast-breeding breeding eastern European type was imported that thrives in Italy’ s hot climate. Those boar interbreed with domestic pigs and can produce two litters a year. Last year a school near Rimini on the Adriatic coast was forced to close temporarily to allow hunters to shoot boar which had threatened the lives of pupils. In 2015 a pensioner in Sicily was killed by a herd of the animals. Mr Rienzi said that Rome’ s rubbish problem was responsible, however, for the increasing number of large and aggressive seagulls filling the skies. The city’ s mouse population is also on the rise – supposedly drawn by the waste – and town hall employees have set up mouse traps after finding rodent faeces in their offices. “Now the hunters are coming for the boar, what do we do about the mice,” Mr Rienzi asked. “Send in a column of cats?” See page 34.

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