On our facebook page last week we touched on the more flippant, culinary aspect of the wild boar cull that was under way by the corpo forestale. However, as in hunting of any kind there will always be the proponents of pros and cons on an ethical and practical level of population control.
Originally from South-East Asia in the Early Pleistocene era (when Rupert was still a boy) wild boar were introduced all over the world by man as an important source of food and are the ancestor of most domestic pig breeds today. So how did they become such a problem that they (supposedly) need to be culled?
Weighing in at between 100 – 200 kg a wild boar can do a lot of damage to crops, vineyards and vegetable patches as they root around for food. Anyone who has come face to face with a fiercely protective mother wild boar and her litter of up to eight babies hopefully knows to walk away quietly and calmly. However, the fear of what she is capable of if she thinks you ARE posing a threat has given rise to an largely undeserved bad press for such a naturally non aggressive animal.
But these problems would be few and far between if it wasn’t for man’s destruction of their natural habitat; woodland and scrubland; where they actually have a beneficial effect on the environment, ploughing up/manuring the land and dispersing seeds. Combine this loss of land with a population explosion owing to the lack of natural predators (again thanks to man) and we see what has pushed the boar onto agricultural and residential land.
Several years ago the corpo forestale introduced some grey wolves back into the eco system near here to try to deal with the problem. According to the locals they are eating more sheep than wild boar but researchers working for the “assessor for the environment” say that from their droppings their diet is mainly wild boar and deer. I remember at the time being a bit worried about there being wolves around and about if my children were playing in the fields and woods. But as a kind friend pointed out, really there was nothing to worry about until the wolves got out of hand and they sent in the leopards…
So really, unless humankind changes their disrespect for all non profit making aspects of the environment they live in, the culls will have to continue because a handful of wolves can only eat so much.