Animal experts in Poland have warned of an increasing threat to humans from the country’s soaring population of wild boar.
Polish experts have warned of the dangers to humans as the country’s wild boar population rises. Photo: ALAMY
By Matthew Day, Warsaw
Numbers of boar have rocketed in Poland over the past decade as the animals – already capable of reproducing in large numbers – fatten themselves on food found in rubbish bins and, increasingly, handed out by well-meaning humans. Official figures for last year put Poland’s boar population around 256,000, a 116 per cent increase on 2000.
The prospect of an easy meal in town has lured boars into residential areas, reduced their natural fear of man and increased the risk of bloody confrontation.
“A wild boar is a dangerous animal to humans, and it is aggressive, especially when a sow has offspring,” Doctor Andrzej Kruszewicz, director of Warsaw zoo, told the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita.
“They are not domesticated animals like cats and dogs, but unfortunately people forget this and feed them.” Doctor Kruszewicz said the only thing that now seems to scare them is the sound of a rifle being loaded and cocked.
Boars also cause massive damage to gardens and farmland as they forage for food, and have been known to overcome barbwire fences in their hunt for sustenance. In June a football club was forced to play its homes games at another ground after boars ripped up its pitch, causing over £4,000 in damages.
Animal experts have criticised restrictive hunting regulations in Poland, which have, apparently, allowed the boar population to go unchecked. Under the law hunting can only take place from October 15 to January, and is restricted to forested areas.
Boars captured in the capital, Warsaw, are “escorted” back to forested areas rather than being killed and converted into food.
“If nothing is done to curb their numbers in two or three generations they will have lost all respect for humans, and then they will rule us,” Doctor Kruszewicz warned.