Wildlife has long found some of our cities a comfortable and safe place to live and to raise a family. Nowhere is this trend more noticeable than in cities all over Europe. And boar are leading the way because of their ever-increasing numbers.
Mild winters, the abundance of food from agriculture, and moderate hunting pressure are all contributing to this trend according to wildlife experts. Yet, this trend does not only affect indigenous wild swine in Europe but also other wildlife such as predators. Here in the United States, we are all too familiar with nightly visits from coyotes that roam our streets and make their home in parks and abandoned real properties. Even predators on the wing have taken a liking to the concrete jungles of New York for example.
Forget about rabbits, squirrels, raccoon, and other wild critters. Now foxes, badgers, deer and other large animals are are joining us in our cities. There are more fox dens in European cities now than dens in the forests where they belong.
Yet, none of them are as visible and obtrusive than wild swine of all persuasions and calibers. First, the populations of wild pigs are steadily increasing all over Europe and the world.
For example, a boar caused a panic in a Japanese school when it attempted to take part in a class. And the poor animal wanted only to improve his education. The other innocently took a dip in the school’s swimming pool.
A cross-border operation by firefighters from Luxembourg and Germany rescued another boar from a castle moat in Germany. The boar was trapped and could not escape on his own.
Pigs are showing up in ever greater numbers in European parks and in the suburbs of cities in areas of the world where boar are indigenous. The best example of this trend manifests itself in Berlin, Germany. The German capital is an ideal breeding ground and living space for pigs and other wildlife. It is surrounded and blends into vast forested areas that make it hard to tell where the forest ends and the city begins.
Europeans have a somewhat contradictory attitude towards their hairy wild swine in the woods. On one hand, they are afraid of encounters with them in the wild and for good reason. On the other, they welcome their grunting new neighbors next door because of their exotic nature. At least, just as long as they do not dig up their front and back yards and their well-manicured park lawns.
And therein lies the problem. Wild boar seek their preferred foods in the ground. They prefer it clearly over what they can find in the trash. At least, wildlife experts who studied the eating habits of wild pigs of all stripes say so. The love for wild neighbors definitely ends at the dug up front yard and the destroyed lawn of the golf course. Even for Europeans.
The United States has a different opinion and attitude regarding wild swine. Here they are considered an invasive species that has no business in our cities, yards, on golf courses and not even in our national parks and forests. The grunting troublemakers got to go!
Texas is leading the fight for the eradication of feral pigs. Of course, Texas also has the highest numbers of wild boar in the entire United States. To be fair, we must say that it is not exclusively the fault of the feral hogs. After all, in the early days of settling the country, our ancestors welcomed pigs as a food source. They drove them into the woods and forests to fatten up for the winter, then corralled them for food for the winter.
Similarly, Texas ranchers discovered long ago that feral pigs are not only a nuisance but also an asset. They produce a welcome income for the ranchers in the form of hard cash the property owners charge hunters for access to the ranch and for each feral hog harvested. This extra income can make up 10 percent and more of the total income from operating a ranch.
And herein lies exactly the conflicting attitude towards wild hogs in the United States. While ranchers welcome the additional income from anything associated with hunting feral pigs, nature, and wildlife
lovers perceive feral pigs as the great, evil enemy that must be eradicated at any cost.
No wonder Texas is experimenting with poisons that would allow for a wholesale eradication of pig populations. Exterminate first, asks questions later is their motto.
So, does wild boar hunting in the United States have a future?
First and foremost, the number of active hunters is steadily declining while outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers are almost growing in numbers as fast as their favorite hairy, grunting enemies.
We should never forget that. Hunting is on the way out, outdoor life and fishing are in.
Nevertheless, let’s examine feral pig eradication in the United States a little closer in an upcoming article or two. Just a simple question to the vegan enemies of feral pigs in Texas and elsewhere:
Do you also want to outlaw and close all domestic breeding ranches of feral pigs for consumption by humans? Wild boar meat is, after all, a pricey and sought-after delicacy.
Maybe their true goal is to ween people off meat consumption completely.
A vegan human is a good human.
Seafood lovers you are temporarily safe from persecution. But once the feral pigs are gone, the vegetarians are coming for you next.
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