Barcelona deploys electric fencing to combat wild boar

by Lorraine Williamson
wild boar in Barcelona
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BARCELONA – The number of wild boar roaming the streets of Barcelona has tripled in the past year. Barcelona City Council has put up electric fencing in the suburb of Pedralbes 

The electric fencing was installed to scare off the boars and prevent them from eating the plants or destroying the lawns. Earlier, some municipalities had already decided on their own to fence off private property or install special paving.  

Access to food 

The problem in Catalonia is now there are generations of wild boar born and raised in or close to suburbs. Therefore, they are no longer afraid of people or cars. When wild boar have plenty of access to food, they reach the weight needed to reproduce early. As a result, this in turn speeds up reproduction.

According to researchers from the University of Barcelona (UAB), wild boar also become more aggressive when in urban areas. After a while, the animals no longer recognise natural food as they have been feeding on scraps of human food.   

Lockdown 

The problem, which is not new, has been exacerbated by the increase in the wild boar population, an extreme situation that had already been predicted by the Generalitat in May. Vice-President for Hunting and Inland Fisheries, Jordi Ruiz, stated then that the combination of a mild winter, an unusually rainy spring and the covid-19 pandemic would lead to a wild boar population boom. The lockdown has made the animals even bolder. They have learned to knock over containers to eat the inhabitants’ leftovers.  

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Increasing number of reports  

In 2021, the municipal council received 728 reports of the presence of wild boar, up from 588 in 2020. Some residents have already experienced multiple incidents. And, in recent months, videos of wild boar in the city of Barcelona have been circulating on social media. Residents of the Rectoret neighbourhood witnessed the capture of five wild boar and reported it on social media. In the video they posted, six people can be seen hunting the animals with the help of a net.  

Part of action plan 

Barcelona City Council claims that this was part of an action plan for ‘hot spots with wild boar that have become accustomed in the urban environment’. It adds that this type of capture is carried out in collaboration with the Consorci del Parc de Collserola in order to control the population of these animals, and whose method is ‘tested against the criteria of animal ethics’.  

Shakira victim of wild boar attack 

‘Look how two wild boars that attacked me in the park left my bag behind.’ So begins the video the singer Shakira posted on her Instagram in which the singer explains the incident. She was walking with her son in a wooded area of Barcelona, where she lives, when she was surprised by two wild boars.  

In the image, Shakira shows her battered bag full of dirt. As she explains in the post, the animals took her bag. ‘They smashed everything and took my bag into the forest, with my phone,’ the Colombian singer complains in the video. ‘Eventually I was able to scare them and get my bag back’. 

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