By Jennifer Popplewell •
Updated: 21 Oct 2023 • 10:47
Wild boar with her young Credit: Pixabay/CC/Mikewildadventure
To cull or not to cull? That is the question regarding the wild beasts roaming Andalucia.
The Costa del Sol. A beautiful, sun soaked coast, home to beaches, boats…and bundling boars. Surprisingly these wild pigs are very common in the south of Spain, although this will come as no shock to readers familiar with the area, as their fearless nature has resulted in many close encounters with humans.
Experts consider wild boars to be extremely dangerous. As stated before, they have no fear of humans, and are naturally very aggressive, attacking if they feel cornered or theatened in any way. In 2023 the boars have breached many beaches, parks and other residential areas on the Costa del Sol, reportedly charging at people and injuring them as well as damaging their belongings. They are also known to be carriers of diseases that can be passed on to humans including tuberculosis, hepatitis E and influenza A. Alongside this there have been many traffic accidents caused by their presence on busy roads.
The wild boar is the ancestor to the domestic pig and it is common throughout the Iberian peninsula. Their natural habitat is usually that of the forest or grasslands, however due to constant commercial construction in the area, many of it being in the country and mountains, these creatures have moved to residential areas in search of food and water.
The community seems to be divided on their reaction to the boar with many wanting to cull these desperate creatures whilst others rally to protect them.
Local councils have long since acknowledged this problem and are constantly seeking ways to address the situation, or ‘invasion’ as many residents view it.
Since the global pandemic, people are far more fearful of disease, and experts have stated that wild boar are natural hosts for African swine fever (ASF). Although it was eradicated in 1995 from domestic pig populations in Spain, a re-emergence of the virus would produce devastating effects. Personal safety is also a concern for many locals, as they fear an encounter with the animal could result in serious injury after many reports of people being attacked continue to emerge. For these reasons, some have urged that the culling of the animal is necessary for the welfare of the human population in the area.
Others have argued a completely contrary point to this, stating that the culling of any animal is inhumane. Outraged citizens have taken to social media, with one user stating that “we have created this problem ourselves by greedily destroying the natural habitat of the wild boar, forcing them into residential areas and then killing them for having the audacity to sustain their species.” Petitions from various local urbanisations have also emerged on social platforms, one being titled ‘Let our boars live in peace’. However, with the first comment being “they are not pets and I am scared of them and would frighten me to have them roam our streets”, it is clear that the coast is divided.
With some erecting fences to protect their land, whilst others leave food out for the boar to eat, concurrent with contrasting demands that their heads roll, it seems that a solution which is hailed by all is not yet on the horizon.
Authorities continue to search for the best effective measure in which to deal with this issue, as the debate on the fate of these Spanish swines goes on.
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Jennifer is a proud northerner from Sheffield, England, who is currently living in Spain. She loves swimming in rivers, talking to the stars and eating luxurious chocolate.
They are an absolute nuisance , health wise , to towns , villages urbanisations etc and should be controlled . Every week we secure our garden , we use repellent but they still plough up parts of the lawn
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