‘They just roam about like cats’: Wild boars are causing havoc in Spain


Large groups of wild boars are now a common sight in some Spanish cities and authorities say they have no option but to capture and put them down.

Attracted by garbage bins and people feeding them, the wild boars wander or lie about in parks and suburban streets, often causing scooter and bicycle accidents.

They also pester people carrying shopping bags.

This month a girl was taken to hospital with injuries after an encounter with a wild boar in Cadaques, north-east of Barcelona.

There were 1,200 incidents involving wild boars last year in Barcelona alone.

Colombian pop star Shakira said the animals had attacked her and her son as they walked in a Barcelona park.

A veterinary technician in charge of the boar control program Carles Conejero said no veterinarian liked to kill animals.

Locals say the boars roam like cats. (Reuters: Albert Gea)

“But we have to do it,” he said.

“We cannot release them back into the wild because they have lost their instincts.”

Later that night Mr Conejero’s team used drop nets to capture a breeding group of wild boars, which squealed loudly before being sedated and then euthanased.

“This is the worst part of the job,” he said as he piled up the dead animals in a van.

Although the problem is not new in Spain, it got worse during the COVID-19 pandemic when more wild animals ventured into urban areas that had turned much quieter due to lockdowns.

A group of people at night gathered around a dead boar.
Authorities say the boars have lost their instincts in the wild. (Reuters: Albert Gea)

Apart from the scheduled captures, Barcelona’s plan to tackle the boar encroachment includes the protection of trash bins, fines for residents who feed the animals and social awareness campaigns.

Dead boars are studied for diseases and food habits.

Local residents agreed that the habit of feeding the boars must stop.

“The problem is that they stop being wild animals, they just roam about like cats,” said Alex, 40.

Spain’s Hunting Resources Research Institute estimates the wild boar population will surpass 2 million next year.

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