Saturday, January 10, 2009

Browsing Bavarian Boars

Andrew Sullivan chose this photograph of a wild boar taken in Bavaria for today's "face of the day" feature, to which he added the curious observation that "the number of wild boars in Germany has grown in the last years due to a milder climate."

Attributing the year's above-average rise in Bavarian wild boars to a milder climate struck me as questionable since I happen to know that wild boars live in a wide variety of climates across the globe (because I habitually collect tidbits of knowledge and store them for future use in scintillating blog posts like this one), so it prompted me to seek, at Wikipedia, what other miscellaneous people have typed into the internets about boars.

There I found a section on the status of wild boars in Germany:

Germany has reported a surge in the wild boar population. This 320% growth in population during 2007—greater than in any other European country—has led to an increasing number of problems for Germany. Crops have been destroyed and dug up, pets and other animals killed, gardens, cemeteries, and graveyards have been trampled, and even the dead have been dug up.
Though the passive construction tries to euphemize it, mark that: wild boars are unearthing the dead in Germany. But the fun doesn't stop there:
Evermore frequent attacks on humans and the risk of swine fever have the German population concerned about the unprecedented population boom.
Through a combination of swine fever and direct attack, wild boars are killing Germans and then digging up their carcasses.

But notice there's no mention of "milder climate," so I was right.

Fortunately, the Wikipedia article is not without helpful suggestions for Germany and other places currently ravaged by marauding boars. Natural predators of wild boars are said to include tigers, wolves, and something perhaps less widely-known:
Striped hyenas occasionally feed on boars, though it has been suggested that only hyenas from the three larger subspecies present in Northwest Africa, the Middle East and India can successfully kill them.
More than ever, Germany needs some large hyenas, tigers, and wolves.

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