The wild boar has lost its fear of humans and its environment, which it sees as a source of food.
In Catalonia, as in all of Europe, their populations continue to grow and cause conflicts.
The experts who participated in September at the XIII World Wild Boar Congress held in Seva (Barcelona) consider that controlling this trend is "one of the main challenges for wildlife managers around the world."
Carme Rosell, an expert on wild boars, wildlife conflict management and director of the environmental consultancy Minuartia, admits that the measures taken so far in Catalonia "have not managed to stop it".
The Government announced a shock plan to control the spread of wild boars and reduce damage.
It includes declaring a "hunting emergency" in overpopulated areas of Girona and Barcelona, such as Les Gavarres.
With a census of some 230,000 individuals, and more than 70,000 hunted last season, Rosell is confident that the plan designed by the Government will give results.
"If urgent effective measures based on scientific knowledge are not taken, wild boars and their impacts will continue to increase," the experts predict.
The reality is that in the last year populations have grown by an average of 15%.
The areas with the highest number of wild boars are the Alt Empordà with 17 individuals per square kilometer and farther away, the Garrotxa, Montnegre, Montseny and Guilleries, with an average of 5. At the other extreme, the Segarra, Alt Pallars or the Cadí with 3 boars.
The mammal has lost its fear of humans and harms agriculture
“If hunting caused a significant decline, it would be noticeable.
This pressure prevents the population from growing, without achieving significant reductions”, highlight members of Minuartia.
Three decades ago, an average of 3,000 wild boars were hunted per season.
The point is that in 20 years the population has multiplied due to its great ability to adapt to habitats, because wild boars eat all kinds of food, they are very prolific, and because of the lack of a wild predator.
"Without wolves, captures are necessary, but you can't trust everything to hunting or other means, especially in cities," says Rosell.
Hunters have gone from 100,000 to 60,000 and with a high average age.
For this reason, this expert in wildlife management sees it necessary to reduce the access of wild boars to food.
“Protecting crops helps,
in the wild boar the equation more food, more breeding, is brutal and fast.
It goes from three or four to six pups per birth”.
The general director of Forest Ecosystems and Environmental Management, Anna Sanitjas, announced for the beginning of the year the declaration of a "hunting emergency" which, regulated by law, can be declared in areas with damage and an average density of more than 8 wild boars per square kilometer.
“It gives a broader umbrella at the legal level to the Administration to act ex officio”, she details.
To act on a hunting ground in a municipality, authorization from the area is needed and to obtain it there is a heavy procedure.
The emergency “speeds it up”.
Action will be taken with hunters and, if necessary, complementary measures may be applied with actions by Rural Agents.
Rosell is confident that the shock plan will begin to be effective because “there are no simple measures to deal with this serious conflict.
They must be adopted with cooperation between farmers, managers, hunters and municipalities”.
He insists: "it is a very intelligent species that knows how to move through urban spaces and fields where it is not hunted, which allows it to obtain unlimited food."
In addition, it feeds on crops, where it causes serious damage, such as in Les Gavarres, where it has increased by 64% and farmers suffer from it (from May to July they captured almost a thousand specimens).
They also go to towns and cities "attracted by garbage, cat food and food that some people still give them, and should be avoided."
Hunters, with a high average age, have been reduced from 100,000 to 60,000
It's a wild animal.
An example of this is the attack on a girl in Cadaqués last August.
The subsequent actions of the Consistory and Rural Agents allowed to eliminate 30 copies.
Apart from food, their productivity "is also increased by crossing with wild, Vietnamese or farm pigs."
This year, 297 of more than 100 kilos and one 200 were hunted. Apart from the physical risk and the transmission of diseases that they pose, they cause conflicts in urban centers, serious damage to crops and vineyards, they are a danger to road safety (some 4,000 accidents a year in Catalonia) and for biodiversity, since they eat wild orchid bulbs, turtle and bird eggs, and chicks.
Now there is the risk of African swine fever, which can affect you and be transmitted to domestic pigs.
Josep Blanquera, president of the Girona Hunting Federation, points out that they have detected that "due to the drought they cannot find food or water in the mountains and they have moved to fields and towns, where they have become accustomed to finding it."
And he warns: "When the young are born in a place with food, they do not leave."
If they are not caught quickly, they learn the behavior and the problem increases exponentially.
The person in charge of Climate Action in Girona, Elisabet Sánchez, expressed the same sense.
"This year they have been detected in places where they had never been before," she says.
For this reason, they have urged the town halls to have a municipal wild boar control plan that, for example, prevents them from accessing cat feed and unappetizing species are planted for these animals, which devour the grass in many towns.
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