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Why you should be more afraid of a hunter than a wild boar

In seguito alle proteste delle organizzazioni animaliste la proposta di cacciare i cinghiali 365 giorni l’anno senza piano di gestione non è stata presentata.

Wild boars (Sus scrofa) are ugly and bad; they destroy crops and threaten people’s lives. This is how media often depict them. But let’s find out why they provoke such scaremongering.

cinghiale che grufola
A wild boar rooting around

Why there are so many wild boars

At the beginning of the last century, wild boars roamed only a few areas of Italy. From the 1950’s, the number of individuals steadily increased, also thanks to their incredible adaptability. However, it was not only a natural phenomenon: many responsibilities are ascribable to hunters and institutions. Wild boar introductions for hunting exacerbated the problem. In fact, many large and prolific wild boars from East Europe have been introduced over the years. Moreover, most of natural predators of these ungulates, such as wolves, have been killed off.

Wild boar rearing and reintroduction for hunting purposes

In Italy, and Europe, there are numerous wild boar farms for hunting and food purposes. A practice that should be banned is foraging, i.e. a constant food offer aimed at luring wild boars to consequently hunt them. This alters wild boars’ biological balance, making them less subjected to natural selection. In order to decrease the number of these animals, repopulation actions need to be stopped.

Hunting is not a solution

In the face of the increasing number of wild boars, most of people invoke their killing. It’s rather ironic that the cause of the problem – hunt – is also considered to be the solution. Despite wild boar hunting has been carried out for many years, the number of individuals has not decreased, especially in the areas where killings are carried out. Hunting causes the social destruction of wild boar packs, leading to the dispersion of individuals and favouring the reproduction of young females. Numerous studies, including those carried out by Vassant in France and by Moretti in Switzerland, shows that hunting pressure increases the proliferation of ungulates. Indeed, bloodless solutions would be way more effective.

famiglia di cinghiali
A family of wild boars

Prevention techniques

It is thus possible to prevent damages caused by wild boars through different solutions, such as the instalment of electrified fences in order to protect crops. Another solution is sterilisation, carried out through a specific vaccine called GonaCon, able to guarantee a long-lasting effect.

cinghiale
Male wild boar (Sus scrofa)

Wild boars and hunters. Which ones are more dangerous?

Over the past few months, we’ve heard of deadly attacks by wild boars towards people. It is not clear how many people have been killed by wild boars in Italy, but the figures of people killed or injured in accidents linked to hunt are certain. Since 2007, according to Associazione Vittime della Caccia, 1,000 people died due to hunting. It’s clear that wild boars are not actually threatening the safety of Italian people, but hunters are.

Face to face with a wild boar. What to do

Wild boars are big, powerful, and potentially dangerous creatures. However, let’s recall that they are mainly herbivores, they are not predators, they are mild and smart, and when they meet people, their instinct pushes them to run away. This does not happen when they feel threatened, particularly in presence of their cubs. The best thing to do is to stop and wait for them to move first – they most probably will run into the forest.

cucciolo di cinghiale
A cub of wild boar

Cruelty to animals and people

There are about 700,000 hunters, out of 60 million Italians. It is still not clear why the government allows these armed people to threaten the population. “Cruelty to animals is training for cruelty against men”, said Ovid, yet the ban on hunting seems to be utopic.

Translated by

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