“It’s an invasion,” summed up Pino Consolati, who runs a restaurant in the Monte Mario district north of the Vatican. He said wild pigs normally come to his garden in search of something to eat. One week, his sister met 30 wild boars one evening before her shoe store. “It’s not a pleasant situation,” Consolati added.
Encounters with feral pigs, which can weigh up to 100 kilograms, are not a complete novelty in Rome. They were also written about in 2017, when piles of rubbish piled up on the streets due to problems with their collection. Among other things, a video appeared at the time with a big boar running in the middle of traffic on a road near the Vatican, and another animal caused the fatal accident of a man riding a moped.
Problems with garbage persist and in the Italian capital, according to the AP agency, it is currently not unusual to come across entire families of wild boars. According to witnesses, in groups of ten to 30 animals, they take to the streets from the large parks that surround the city.
The Romans document the beginnings of hungry animals in various places, and uploading videos to social networks has become a hobby. At the same time, local elections await Rome next weekend, and the wild boar invasion is used in the campaign as a weapon against Mayor Virginia Raggio.
However, experts believe that it is not so simple and that the current situation is, in addition to inefficient waste collection, also associated with the proliferation of boars. The main Italian agricultural association Coldiretti now estimates that there are over two million of them in the whole country. When he estimated the size of the population at more than a million in 2015, he spoke of its doubling in the last ten years.
The Lazio region of Rome states that five to six thousand wild boars live in city parks, several hundred of whom regularly travel to built-up areas. In an effort to curb population growth, the regional government launched a cage program in 2019 and allowed “selective” hunting in some parks last month, which has so far been strictly prohibited.
Maurizo Guibbiotti, the head of the local park administration, says that Lazio should significantly increase the limits for shooting wild boars, but animal protectors are vehemently opposed to mass hunting in Italy. Some Romans do not share their view. “I’m afraid to cross the sidewalk because there are garbage containers and they (the wild boars) will jump on me,” Grazia, 79, complained as she waited in front of the elementary school for her grandchildren. A little further down the same street, a group of wild pigs were rummaging in the trash.