Wild boar evicted from Riga raid nearby municipality

On July 13, a devil's dozen of wild boar, along with two sows were evicted from Riga to the forest of a nearby municipality. It seems that the boars have taken a liking to suburban life, as since then the porcine trespassers have been seen in a number of gardens and farms in the Ikšķile region, feeding on potatoes and rummaging furrows of precious agricultural produce, reported a story on Latvian Radio Friday.

The boar have become used to city life, as a day after they were released, locals started noticing dug-up ground in their gardens. Velta Putna, a retired schoolteacher, saw trails of wild boar for the first time in 15 years, while others nearby have also seen them in action.

Both she and her neighbors think that the boars should be shot.

The chairman of the Ikšķile municipality, Indulis Trapiņš, criticizes Riga for moving the problems of the capital to nearby regions. He thinks that there are two possible courses of action:

"[..] either to isolate them, putting them in an enclosed habitat, a nature park or zoo, or to allow hunters to shoot them," said Trapiņš. 

He adds that the two sows seem to have acted as temptresses in the area, luring previously peaceful local boars into their ways of debauchery.

It is not, however, funny anymore. Executive director of Ikšķile, Guntars Kurmis said that the intruders can spread African Swine Fever (ASF), as these animals are highly mobile and can quickly pass the disease on from farm to farm.

Juris Radzevičs from the Riga municipality denied that it was a mistake deporting the boars. The law forbids hunting within the boundaries of a city, and locals were against slaying the trespassing boars, which had become hits on social media. But now, he said, there's a window of legal opportunity to kill them - "What you cannot do in Riga, you can do in the countryside."

Indulis Trapiņš said that it's just what the hunters are going to do, but perhaps a more peaceful solution can be found.

Hunter Kaspars Šuikovskis told LTV Thursday morning that they could be moved to an area outside the ASF quarantine zone, and perhaps hunters could be delegated to feed the boars and follow their movement. 

After this story was published, researcher Joanna Storie reached out to LSM, showing her research on the subject of wild boar damaging Latvia's farmland and causing economic damage.

According to the paper, the population of wild boar has soared since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and that, in addition to being disease carriers, wild boar present serious obstacles for doing farming in some regions of Latvia.

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