Wild boar become more daring in search for food in Barcelona

Three are seen close to Sagrada Familia as crackdown helps drive animals into the city

The wild boar that roam the hills above Barcelona are becoming ever more daring in their search for food. File photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA

The wild boar that roam the hills above Barcelona are becoming ever more daring in their search for food. File photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA

 

The wild boar that roam the hills above Barcelona are becoming ever more daring in their search for food.

While for some time they have been a familiar sight in the neighbourhoods adjacent to the thickly wooded hills, they have now been spotted in areas closer to the city centre.

Last week three were seen crossing the street near the Sant Pau hospital, which is close to the Sagrada Familia, the city’s top tourist attraction. A day later three more were photographed near the Mercè market in the Nou Barris area of the city.

The wild boar breed freely in the Collserola hills, where they have no predators and there are few hunters. In recent years the city authorities have taken measures to control their numbers, and officials claim that this year there have been only 369 reported sightings within the city, compared with 1,187 in 2016.

“In the areas closest to the Collserola we have blocked bins so they can’t get at food and we have also discouraged people from putting food out for cats as this attracts the boars,” said Carme Mate, head of the city’s animal rights and urban ecology department.

However, it appears that these very controls are part of what is driving the animals to seek food further afield.

The creatures, which can weigh as much as 113kg, are generally harmless unless cornered or are females with their young. However, a study published earlier this year by researchers at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona found that wild pigs that had become accustomed to eating discarded human food were more likely to behave aggressively towards people. – Guardian