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French cities take action as urban wild boar sightings skyrocket

Wild boars are increasingly widespread in urban areas of France, prompting local communities and residents to act to reduce their presence in city centers and near homes.

According to figures from the National Federation of Hunters (FNC), France currently has around three million wild boars and more and more of them are venturing into urban areas in search of food and safe spaces.

Police on patrol in Nîmes, in the Gard – one of the departments which has seen a marked increase in the number of wild boars – reported last Sunday that they had encountered two wild boars in the city center last Sunday at 3 a.m., in a place far from ‘to be isolated. Case.

Thierry Coste, FNC spokesperson, said to the newspaper Le Figaro: “Wild boars are very opportunistic and they can travel for miles to find food. They adapt very quickly to densely populated areas, where they find refuge without being disturbed, because you cannot hunt within 150 meters of a dwelling.

“At night, they eat in garbage cans. During the day, they hide at the edge of housing estates or commercial areas, where there are wasteland where they can take shelter.

Yet urban wild boars can cause damage to land and property – and they are also linked to 25,000 road accidents per year, some of which have been fatal.

As a result, local authorities in many places are taking action.

Jean Dionis du Sejour, mayor of Agen in Lot-et-Garonne, declared: “The wild boar population has quadrupled in 10 years in our department. It is not uncommon to see them in the city.

“Administrative hunts, which are objectively dangerous, are less and less accepted by the population. The use of a bow and arrow is anecdotal.

“We have therefore decided, in consultation with the municipalities of the municipality, to reduce the public and private surfaces, because these are places where [the boars] feel protected and reproduce easily.

In Dordogne, Yannick Bidaud, mayor of the town of Marsac-sur-l’Isle, authorized an official hunt from 7 p.m. to help tackle the problem.

Wolf and wild animal specialist Loïc Bourgeix, who took part in the operation, said: “[An official hunt] is more efficient. We killed a wild boar that was near a [child’s] swing, in the garden of a private house north of the city.

Another option is to capture the animals.

In Loire-Atlantique, cities like Nantes, Saint-Nazaire, and others, are also starting to see the number of wild boars increase.

Dany Rose, president of the departmental hunting federation, the Departmental Hunting Federation, declared: “We have just set up a toolbox for the mayors of these municipalities.

“Right now we recommend traps, using a cage to capture the wild boar with food, like wheat. We then check daily, before sunrise, in case a pet or pet has caught themselves. We also advise the authorities to shoot with a [particular rifle], which is quieter and safer to use near homes.

Dangers of wild boar meat

It comes as two hunters from Vallespir in the Pyrénées-Orientales were confirmed to be infected with the trichinellosis parasite after eating undercooked wild boar meat.

The departmental hunting federation told the local newspaper The Dispatch: “Although these cases are rare, the growth of wild boar populations and the change in our cooking habits can lead to an increase in infections. “

Trichinellosis, sometimes also called trichinosis, is contracted by eating raw or undercooked meat from animals infected with the microscopic trichinella parasite.

Symptoms are flu-like, but also include digestive issues such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea – and may not appear until one to three weeks after eating the affected meat.

If misdiagnosed or late, it can cause serious problems such as meningitis and heart problems, and can be fatal if left untreated.

Daniel Cunat, head of the departmental protection service, said a news source France-Blue: “Fortunately, the two hunters in our department were treated on time, although one of them still suffers from muscle pain.”

The disease is rare and has only been reported in around 30 people in France over the past decade.

However, the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES) always warns that it represents a considerable risk, especially for hunters who can hunt and cook meat without necessarily knowing about it. the source.

He advised: “Wild boar [and similar meat] should be eaten fully cooked to the end, at 71 ° C. Freezing is not seen as a way to make meat safe.

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