REGION · More and more wild boar are causing an increasing amount of damage in the region. Experts believe that further intensive hunting is necessary.
It was a mild winter and there was enough food. Wild boars are multiplying in high numbers in the region. The NRW state hunting association even speaks of a record year. Without heavy winters or diseases, the wild boar population triples annually, leading district hunting advisor Norbert Möhlenbruch to call further intensive hunting "necessary". A reduction is not only desirable because of the damage to yards and fields, but also because of the threat of African swine fever (ASP).
This epidemic can also affect domestic pigs and farmers urgently want to prevent it from entering and spreading in Central Europe. People do not contract the disease, but if the virus enters a domestic pig population, the entire stock must be killed. This can destroy entire existences on large-scale farms, says Christoph Könen, farming authority in Bonn / Rhein-Sieg.
Threat of the spread of African swine fever
So far, according to Könen, the swine fever that swept through Georgia and Russia to the Baltic States in 2017 and from there to Poland and the Czech Republic has not yet been found in Germany. Classic swine fever, which last occurred in 2009 in NRW, was suppressed by vaccine bait. ASP is transmitted by a completely different pathogen, for which a vaccine has not been developed.
This leads Könen to welcome increased efforts to reduce the wild boar population, including in Rhine-Sieg. Many farmers in the region coordinate the management of land and hunting.
Back yards are like “fast food restaurants”
Because of the growing wild boar population, more and more damage is being caused by groups of the hungry wild animals. "People who live near forests, feel the increase of wild boars more and more," says hunting advisor Möhlenbruch. "As clever animals, they quickly realized that yards and residential areas offer shelter and food." In cities like Bad Honnef and Sankt Augustin, wild boars moved further and further into residential areas, and people could even observe them in broad daylight, wild boar families with young offspring. In some Eitorf back yards, the wild boars felt right at home. "Real protection against a visit (from the wild boar) is provided only by fences embedded in the ground", advises the expert from Hennef.
Lutz Schorn, chair of the Bonn hunting association, likens some people’s back yards to “fast food restaurants for wild boars, open around the clock.” For example, often compost heaps are designed so that the hungry animals have an easy time to reach the tasty morsels. He advises people who live near forests to install a steel mesh fence dug 30 centimeters deep into the ground so the boar cannot dig through it.
Wild boar go to back yards simply for food supplements. Large-scale cultivation of organic corn, rapeseed and other crops provide them generally with plenty of nutrition and room for retreat. And after they have eaten enough vegetables, they crave animal protein - such as worms.
Schorn emphasizes that the hunting community is not looking for an “extermination campaign” against the wild boar. "They are fascinating and interesting wildlife," he says. Möhlenbruch comments similarly, “Above all, they are not pests, but admirable, intelligent and courageous animals.”
(Orig. text: Mario Quadt; Translation: ck)