“No veterinarian likes to kill animals. It’s something we don’t like and should not be doing,” Spanish veterinarian Carles Conejero said as he killed wild boars at night in Barcelona. Conejero is in charge of a program to control the boar population in the Spanish city.
Wild boars have become common in Barcelona, and the government has decided to put the animals down to protect humans. Last year, Barcelona reported 1,200 human-boar incidents. In the town of Cadaques northeast of Barcelona, a girl was taken to hospital after an interaction with a wild boar.
“Here in Barcelona, we’ve had this problem for a long time. I think the problem started with the boars in 2010. Boars were getting used to the urban environment,” Conejero said.
Conejero’s team uses drop nets to capture the pigs, sedate them and then euthanize the animals. They aim to kill whole breeding groups to control the population.
If people would stop feeding them, killing them wouldn’t be necessary, Conejero said. “But there’s a series of people that co-exist unnaturally with them. By giving the boar human food, the only thing they are doing is contributing to the loss of their instincts.”
Local resident Alex (40) agreed that people should stop feeding boars: “They (boars) eat from the trash, and tourists that come for excursions feed them, and that’s the problem, so they stop being wild animals, and they are camping here just like cats.”
“They are a wild animal which is being humanized and urbanized. The problem is that people get used to feeding them, so they are used to coming to eat. So, we are co-existing in an environment,” local resident Jordi Amat (43) said.
“People should understand that feeding boars forces them to survive in an environment where they can’t survive by themselves. They need human help,” Conejero said.
“If we continue like this, it will be a mess. It will be a complete disaster. We will maintain the problem and won’t solve it. Meaning, if we only kill boars, the problem won’t get solved,” he added.
Besides killing them, Barcelona’s plan to tackle the boar population includes protection of trash bins, fines for residents who feed the boars and social awareness campaigns.