ONE: ABC News item, 27 September 2021, with this title = “Calls for cull as scavenging wild boars trot across Italy and into Rome”
Rome has been invaded by Gauls, Visigoths and Vandals over the centuries, but the Eternal City is now grappling with a rampaging force of an entirely different sort: rubbish-seeking wild boars.
- Rome’s booming wild boar population has trickled out of city parks and onto the streets
- There are about 2 million wild boars in Italy, 6,000 of them in the Lazio region around Rome
- Maurizio Giubbiotti says culling 1,000 boars each year could bring numbers under control
But experts say the issue is more complicated and tied, in part, to a booming boar population. There are over 2 million wild boars in Italy, according to agriculture body Coldiretti.
In the Lazio region, surrounding Rome, there are an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 in city parks. A few hundred of them regularly leave the trees and greenery for urban asphalt and rubbish bins. As Rome gears up for a local election next weekend, the wild boar invasion has been used as a political weapon to attack Mayor Virginia Raggi over the city’s formidable garbage collection problems.
To combat their growing numbers, Lazio launched a program in 2019 to capture the beasts in cages for slaughter, and last month approved a new decree to allow selective hunting of boars in some parks, which until now had been banned.
Lazio parks manager Maurizio Giubbiotti said the region needed to increase the boar cull from 700 over two years to at least 1,000 annually to control the situation.
In Italy’s rural areas, hunting wild boar is a popular sport and most Italians can offer a long list of their favourite wild boar dishes, including pappardelle pasta with boar sauce and wild boar stew. But animal rights groups have been adamantly opposed to mass culling — a belief not shared by some urban residents.
Just down the street, a mob of wild boars could be seen snorting through the trash. Grazia’s concerns are not misplaced. Wild boars can weigh up to 100 kilograms, posing a not-insignificant threat to the elderly and young children.
“We have been invaded here,” business owner Pino Consolati said. Mr Consolati said mobs of boars routinely wandered through his outdoor eating area looking for food and his sister found 30 boars outside her shoe store one evening this week. “It is not a pleasant situation>”