ROME (AP) – Rome has been overrun by Gauls, Visigoths and vandals over the centuries, but the Eternal City is now grappling with a raging force of a whole different kind: wild boars searching for trash .
Whole families of wild boar have become a daily sight in Rome, as groups of 10 to 30 animals, young and old, come out of the vast parks surrounding the city to trot through the crowded streets in search of food in search of food. the notoriously overflowing rubbish bins of Rome.
Posting wild boar videos to social media has become something of a sport as exasperated Romans capture scavengers parading past their stores, strollers or playgrounds.
As Rome prepares for local elections next weekend, the wild boar invasion has been used as a political weapon to attack Mayor Virginia Raggi over the city’s formidable garbage collection issues. But experts say the problem is more complicated and linked at least in part to a burgeoning wild boar population.
The main Italian agricultural lobby, Coldiretti, estimates that there are more than 2 million wild boars in Italy. The Lazio region surrounding Rome estimates that there are 5,000 to 6,000 in the city’s parks, a few hundred of which regularly abandon the trees and green for urban asphalt and garbage cans.
To combat their growing numbers, Lazio launched in 2019 a program to capture animals in park cages to slaughter them, and last month approved a new decree to allow selective hunting of wild boars in certain parks, which until now was strictly prohibited.
Lazio parks manager Maurizio Giubbiotti said the region needs to increase the slaughter of wild boar from 700 over two years to at least 1,000 a year to bring the situation under control.
In rural Italy, wild boar hunting is a popular sport and most Italians can offer a long list of their favorite wild boar dishes, including pappardelle pasta with wild boar sauce and wild boar stew. But animal rights groups have categorically opposed the mass slaughter.
These beliefs are not shared by some city dwellers.
“I’m afraid to walk on the sidewalk, because on one side there are the dumpsters and they (the wild boars) are jumping on me,” said Grazia, a 79-year-old grandmother who waits outside a school. elementary school to pick up his grandchildren. She did not give her last name.
Just down the street, a family of wild boars were sniffing in the trash cans.
His concerns are not out of place: wild boars can weigh up to 100 kilograms (220 pounds), reach 80 centimeters (2.6 feet) in height and be 150 centimeters (5 feet) long, a not insignificant threat, in particular. for the elderly and young children. .
“We have been invaded here,” lamented Pino Consolati, who runs a restaurant on the corner of a busy street in Rome’s Monte Mario district. He said families of wild boar regularly wander around his outdoor food court in search of food. One day this week, he said, his sister found 30 wild boars outside her shoe store when she left at 8 p.m.
“It’s not a pleasant situation,” he said, shrugging his shoulders.