Chatting with the owner of an extensive vineyard in the hills, I was amazed to hear about the numbers of wild boars roaming around ruining the crops.
Some years ago, because hunters are always keen to shoot large beasts, they imported a new strain from Hungary. These animals are bigger than the indigenous ones, and they have bred so successfully that they are causing a huge problem and the huntsmen can’t keep pace with their breeding rate. (Each sow produces two litters a year, with 12 piglets at a time.)
My friend estimates that there are about 10,000 in the Euganean Hills, costing the local economy €100,000 in damage to crops, woodland and footpaths. Even though the meat is served in many local restaurants, it isn’t easy to get the meat to the table. European regulations insist on approved slaughterhouses rather than a farmer with a gun.
The surprising thing is, I’ve never seen one in all the years I’ve known the area. No wonder the huntsmen are frustrated at such difficult targets!