450 deer and wild boar slaughtered in mass hunting session

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Several European cities are grappling with an influx of wild boars roaming the streets, leaving trails of destruction in their paths and sparking concerns from farmers and residents alike.  Mainland Europe has reported vast numbers of the invasive species across a number of European locations over the last few years. Barcelona, for instance, is suffering from a huge invasion of will boars, many of which venture right into the city itself. 

While local experts have been doing their best to manage the problem, they are getting overwhelmed by the huge numbers of the wild animals running rampant in the city. This is because Barcelona is acting as an ecological sink, meaning the excess of the wild boar population sees the city as a suitable environment to inhabit and spread across. 

However, there have been efforts to take out the more problematic animals, using traps, taking samples and killing them humanely. 

Wild boar often features on the Global Invasive Species Database’s ‘100 Worst’ list, implying authorities likely see the animals as a huge problem. 

Since the 1980s, the number of wild boar across Europe has soared in connection with both the proportion of people living in cities and the rise in global temperatures. 

The wild beasts will likely eat anything in their path, even each other if they are desperate, and have the ability to adapt to almost any reasonable environment. 

They are even present in the UK, in parts of southern England and Wales. They are also reportedly present in every part of Scotland, in numbers possibly as high as the thousands. 

Steven McKenzie, the head keeper at Aberchalder and Glengarry Estate, south of Fort Augustus said back in July he saw a wild boar “pulling apart” one of his sheep, sparking panic among farmers in the Highland region, where the situation is reportedly becoming uncontrollable. 

Many of the animals weigh more than 30 stone and consistently attack lambs. Mr McKenzie said the animals need to be culled, and he himself claims to have shot one double the normal size after it attacked one of his ewes. 

Mr McKenzie told the BBC back in July: “They’re definitely preying on the sheep on purpose. The majority of them are coming in at 90 to 100 kilos [15.7 stone] and they are the ones that are just on vegetation only.

“But we are seeing more and more, bigger pigs weighing as much as over 200 kilos [31 stone], and it’s my belief that they’re only getting to that size because of the extra protein in their diet, and that protein is coming from meat.”

According to Forestry England, wild boar used to be common in England, but were hunted to extinction over 300-years-ago.  However, over the last few years, small populations of feral wild boar have become established again in the wild due to accidental and deliberate releases from wild boar farms.

Forestry England adds that landowners and even private homeowners commonly complain that feral wild boar are getting from the Forest onto their land.

And with no natural predators to take them out in the wild, the animals are breeding fast in ideal habitats for food and shelter, with current population growth expected to keep growing until the population density reaches a level whereby the population begins to self-regulate through limited food resources.

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Carles Conejero, a veterinarian from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) has learned from experience how to tackle the wild boar problem as his city in Spain is currently struggling to cope with a population of over 2,000 wild boar, and advises people not to feed the animals.

He told the Telegraph: “No veterinarian likes to kill animals, but the problem is that people have lost their relationship boundaries with nature. They see boar in the city and they feed them. They feel sorry, they see a boar go, ‘squeal!’ and they think, ‘aww’.”

But he warned:  “When you feed a boar, they start to recognise humans as a food source and the city as a place to be. They are f****** up their instincts, and they cannot unlearn it. If we picked them up and dropped them back in the forest, they would just come back. They have lost their nature completely. That’s the reason we have to destroy them.”

To do so, he performs nocturnal operations, as well as emergency call-outs, administering lethal injections to wild boars that have been caught in traps. Records show that he has “destroyed” around 1,200 since 2018.

Wild boar normally run from humans, but they will defend their young and charge when frightened. Some have large tusks and it is advised to keep well away from the animals if come across one. 

And with no natural predators to take them out in the wild, the animals are breeding fast in ideal habitats for food and shelter, with the current population growth expected to keep growing until the population density reaches a level whereby the population begins to self-regulate through limited food resources.

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