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Wild boars invading the streets of Rome pose serious safety risks

by Lorenzo Zanini

Who would ever have guessed that Rome would one day be facing this type of invasion?

After all, in the course of its long history, the Eternal City has braved such high-caliber enemies as Hannibal, the Carthaginian leader, not to mention the many barbarian tribes. Times change, and the Italian capital now needs to deal with some unwelcome as much as unlikely guests: wild boars.

The municipality is investigating possible measures to sterilize the animals, in the wake of a motorcyclist's recent, deadly accident: the collision with a wild boar that was running free alongside the famous via Cassia. A video of another wild boar clambering up a street very close to the Vatican, in the heart of the city, has also featured prominently in the social media in recent weeks.

The Capitol is considering the possibility of using an “immune-vaccine” to sterilize the boars, so as to drastically reduce their numbers in the city.

The escalation of damages, aggressions and accidents, including casualties, “is the result of an uncontrolled proliferation of wild animals, with well over a million boars in Italy, their presence escalating from the countryside to urban contexts,” reports Coldiretti, an association of farmers. “Over the past ten years the number of boars present in Italy has practically doubled, with a consequent security risk.”

Emergency measures can no longer be postponed, so much so that several environmental protection groups have straightaway requested a round-table debate with the Town Council, the Regional Authorities, highway maintenance agency Anas and volunteer associations.

In the meanwhile, the Carabinieri Forestry Corps recommend anyone faced with this wild animal to “respect distances without ever turning one's back to the boar.” 

If the animal attacks, they suggest, one should adopt the ‘bullfighter's strategy,' that is to suddenly dodge the animal at the last second while always looking at him. “Rule number one,” at any rate, “is not to approach the animal and never to obstruct a possible escape route for the boar.”