December 01, 2004

Wild Boar Attack 

Wild Boars are very common in Italy. Adult males can weigh up to 140 kg, and they have long, curved and sharp fangs. After near-extinction, wild boars' population began to rise again in the 80s, and is now at alarming levels. While digging the ground in search for commestible roots and small animals, boars can cause severe damage to crops and fruit trees, not to mention to the natural grasslands. Boars also cross roads, especially at night, and more than a few people ran over them with their cars: the result usually is a badly smashed front, and a lighthly injured boar. And even if the blow is hard enough, a wild boar can still walk a few kilometers before dying - finally, to add scorn to damage, it's not even legal to take the dead animal home and butcher it to cook a tasty casserole.

Boars are wild, tough and resistant: hunters have seen them swimming across swift rivers swollen with autumn rains, climbing steep slopes, bulleting through thick thorny bushes, and ripping dogs apart with their fangs when cornered. My father shot a boar right in its nose with a 12-gauge lead slug, and the animal run another kilometer or so before being shot and killed by another hunter, go figure.

I saw boars quite close-up while walking in the woods, and one day a female with a puppy crossed a dirt road in front of my motorbike. One day, three boars chased by hunting dogs run across my village. Ah, they have been declared haram (forbidden) by a local imam.

Sometimes, wild boars are the protagonosts almost unbeliavable stories, like this one: in a village near Viterbo (central Italy) an enraged and possibly injured boar first entered the courtyard of the local Civil Protection station, and the volunteers on site (most of the Civil Protection personnel are volunteers in Italy) tried without success to stop it.

Then, the animal ran towards a cardiologist's surgery, broke through the door by sheer force and thrashed the waiting room causing light injuries to two of the patients, most of them elderly. Finally, the boar escaped and was later sighted near the local soccer pitch. Carabinieri and volunteers begun a search for the boar, but without any success.
(The 9x19 FMJ bullets used by Italian police aren't going to be very effective against a wild boar: hunters prefer carbines firing .30-06 Springfield or .308 Winchester soft-nose bullets).

No wonders that It-necks (Italian rednecks... I claim the right to invent a new word!) are so fond of wild boars...


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