Wild creatures feel at home in city

Riga prides itself on being one of Europe’s greenest cities, and the wild Riga Beaver was the star of last weekend’s Supernova song contest, and indeed, the town finds itself frequently visited by various forest creatures, according to the municipal forest agency ranger Edgars Vaikulis.

“Forest animals – doesn’t matter whether they are wild boar, deer, moose – they don’t necessarily orient well among local government administrative territories besides the fact that they don’t recognize them in the first place. So they come and go as they please and nobody takes any official account of them,” said the city’s woods department representative.

Though there are no counts or even rough estimates as to how many animals there might be altogether in Riga’s municipal and suburban woods, Vaikulis told Latvian Radio’s Laima Baumane the number must be quite high.

“If there are 400 hectares in Mežaparks (northeast exclusive historic wooded Riga neighborhood) alone, then there are at least ten times that many Mežaparks territories altogether in the municipal land holdings. That’s an ungraspable scope. Riga has very many forest territory borderlines, the number is quite high,” he continued.

But what to do if one actually encounters a creature of the forest in the course of one’s daily urban comings and goings? Vaikulis doesn’t believe any particular measures are necessary, unless one thinks that human life might be in danger.

“If it’s a large number of animals along a busy road, then for safety’s sake one should call the police and lodge a warning,” said the Riga Forests representative, for example.

Latvian Radio learned from the Riga municipal police force that no records are kept of reports of forest animal sightings or incidents. Data-keeping is not part of the police force’s mandate, but rather that of Riga Forests, Riga police spokesperson Inese Krieviņa told LR.

LR listeners have lodged sightings not only of wild boar inside city limits, but also beavers by the downtown canals, foxes in Vērmane Gardens park and rabbits by Tīraine. On Wednesday an early-morning photo tweeted by a resident in outer Riga showed a herd of wild boar hurrying across the otherwise traffic-free Brivibas street straightaway overnight.

"Yes, that is Brīvibas street, that is from tonight and yes, those are wild boar," reads the Riga resident's tweet.

 

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