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article imageGerman farmers want army to declare war on wild boar

By Martin Laine     Sep 6, 2010 in Environment
Frustrated farmers in western Germany want to call in the army to bring hordes of rampaging wild boar under control. The animals have destroyed hundreds of acres of maize – Indian corn – and are threatening further serious damage to the autumn harvest
For their part, the army wants no part of it.
The population of wild boar has exploded recently, doubling annually over the past several years. The increase is attributed to a lack of natural predators – the wolf – and an increase in the planting of commercial crops such as maize, a particular favorite of the boars.
Last year, hunters killed nearly half a million of the animals, a record number, but that has not alleviated the ravaging of the farmers’ crops.
“The farmers are boiling with rage,” said Norbert Schindler, president of a regional farmer’s association. “Yet the problem cannot be solved by using regular hunters anymore.”
Meanwhile, the army and regional governments call the idea of using soldiers to hunt down wild boars cruel and unconstitutional.
The boars pose other problems as well.
An increase in traffic accidents involving wild boars resulted in 27 deaths and 3,000 injuries in Germany last year.
Last week, a soccer match in Dresden had to be stopped when a pack of wild boar invaded the field, terrifying spectators and players alike, and leaving the playing field in an unplayable condition. Two years ago, a cinema theater in a town near Munich was invaded by a pack of wild boar.
As if all that weren’t bad enough, many of the wild boar are radioactive, a result of contamination from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster a quarter of a century ago. Clouds of radioactive particles settled into the soil of the region, which the boar continue to ingest as they root out and eat truffles and mushrooms.
Hunters’ associations and authorities are proposing to increase hunting limits, including hunting at night by torchlight, which causes a boar to stop, making it an easier target. There are also plans for an effort to set out bait laced with birth control.
More about Wild boar, Chernobyl, Crop damage
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