Thu. Apr 25th, 2019

Wild boar arrive at beaches and bars and set the alarm in Portugal

Wild boar arrive at beaches and bars and set the alarm in Portugal



The Portuguese boars fear nothing. They cool on the beaches, stroll between the tables on the terrace bars and cause serious damage to local agriculture, so much that the issue has become a national issue and has reached Parliament.

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The great increase of the wild populations of this animal and its dispersion throughout the territory generate more and more problems in Portugal and have raised the voices of associations of agricultural producers and hunters to ask for solutions.

But the concern has not remained there and has jumped to Parliament by the deputies of the Christian Democratic Party, who presented a series of recommendations to the Government to take action on the matter.

Among them, the carrying out of a study on "the density, size and territorial distribution of the population of wild boar" and the adoption "urgently" of measures to develop a plan to reduce and control it in the long term.

Currently there are no official data on the amount of wild boars that may be in Portugal.

According to sources of the Ministry of Agriculture Luso consulted by Efe, "it is not possible to obtain densities and absolute values" because the populations of wild boar travel through "very large" areas and "its increase is a cyclical phenomenon caused by several variants, such as food, shelter or hunting".

This portfolio, which deals with the matter jointly with the Ministry of Environment, organizations of farmers and forestry producers and the hunting sector, already has several measures in place, including the obligation to "seal" the killed animals, among 22,000 and 33,000 per season.

In this way they seek to "know and control their number better" and facilitate the planning of actions to correct densities.

Among the causes that explain the increase and dispersion of wild boars are the abandonment of traditional agriculture that turns the fields into scrub areas, forest fires that devastate the vegetation and even periods of drought, which push them to move in search of food.

In one of the most affected areas, the Natural Park of Arrábida, 30 kilometers south of Lisbon, also contributed to the lack of predators such as the wolf or the lynx and the prohibition to hunt, the secretary general of the National Association told EFE of Rural Owners, Hunting Management and Biodiversity (ANPC), João Carvalho.

In the Arrábida is where there have been scenes like a herd of boars walking between the tables of the terrace of a bar or a group of these animals that, before the extreme heat, approached a beach to take a dip before the perplexed look of dozens of bathers.

To date, no quantified claims have been made to the Ministry of Agriculture for damage caused to agriculture, so there is no concrete data.

However, in one of the most affected crops, that of corn, losses exceed one million euros, according to calculations of the National Association of Maize Producers.

In addition to the damage to crops, there is the danger they pose to public health - they can transmit diseases such as tuberculosis - and the threat of African swine fever, one of the risks most emphasized by the CDS in its recommendations.

"It's a real risk, we have to pay close attention, if it enters Portugal and Spain, all the export of pork meat products could be prohibited," Carvalho warned, for which the "only" way to control wild boar populations is The hunt.

"A greater effort of the hunt is necessary to reduce the population density until it is not problematic", considers the general secretary of the ANPC, who stressed that the wild boar "is a very important resource" and a "fundamental" species in the ecosystems .

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