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Wild boar surround woman near Rome and steal food shopping

·3 min read

A herd of wild boar surrounded a woman who had just come out of a supermarket near Rome and stole her shopping, rekindling a debate about the presence of the animal in Italian towns and cities.

A video posted on social media on Thursday shows the boars approaching and cornering the woman in a supermarket car park in the village of Le Rughe.

The animals, four adults and two young boars, pursue the woman as she backs away, attempting in vain to keep them at bay. The angry woman is then forced to drop the shopping bag on the ground, which is immediately raided by the animals.

The little ones start eating the contents of the bag in the car park, others take what they can and run away.

“I don’t believe my eyes,” said the author of the video.

Last October, the mayor of Rome ordered an investigation after a family of wild boars, commonplace in the city, were shot and killed by police in a children’s playground near the Vatican. The event sparked protests by animal rights activists and some locals.

In recent years, Italian farmers have protested about wild boar wreaking havoc on their land and causing fatal road accidents.

Wild boar are believed to be responsible for an average of 10,000 road accidents a year in Italy.

Related: You swine! German nudist chases wild boar that stole laptop

There have been cases of people being injured or killed in attacks and an increase in sightings of boar rummaging through rubbish in urban areas.

Last month, Coldiretti, the country’s largest farmers’ association, described the increase in the number of the animals in some Italian regions as unsustainable and asked the authorities to intervene.

“We must act as soon as possible and involve the army if necessary,” Coldiretti said in a statement, citing the situation in Piedmont.

Two million boar are estimated to roam Italy and hunting them is a popular pastime. Boar meat is a staple of Tuscan and Umbrian cuisine.

They are not only an Italian affliction. In Greece, sightings of swine in urban centres have become commonplace, with one spotted taking a late-night stroll through Thessaloniki’s central square only last week.

Since the start of the pandemic villagers have increasingly complained of packs of wild boar descending from nearby forests to raid gardens around homes in the quest for food.

As in Italy, Greek farmers have voiced concern about the damage wrought on crops as a result of galloping reproduction rates.

The explosion has been attributed to climate change but also the ban on hunting imposed by Covid. On Wednesday, Prof Christos Vlachos at Thessaloniki University’s department of forestry and natural environment described the appearance of the animals in urban areas as especially worrisome.

“It is serious and is going to get more serious,” he told the country’s state news agency. “Their reproduction cycles have got smaller because with climate change we have milder winters and, as a result, they give birth to six to ten little ones three times every two years.”

The curb on hunting had also contributed to the population explosion. “Hunting is a regulatory mechanism that ultimately contains the population because it puts a break on reproduction [rates],” he said. While hunting policies needed to be adjusted it was vital that wild boar populations were more closely monitored, the academic told the agency.

Additional reporting by Helena Smith in Athens

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