Wild boar cull planned as population swells

Photo: archive of Radio Prague

Plans are afoot for a mass cull of the Czech Republic’s wild boar population. Mild winters are causing the animals to breed all year round, sparking a rise in numbers – and a related increase in damage to agricultural land and incidence of boars wandering onto roads.

Photo: archive of Radio Prague
The Czech Ministry of Agriculture is preparing legislation under which it will be possible to hunt wild boar of all ages and genders throughout the year, rather than from the start of August to the end of December as at present.

The reason for the move is that the country’s wild boar population has swelled due to the mild winters of recent years; they have led the animals to breed all through the year, not just from November to January.

František Mariánek from the Regional Agricultural Chamber in the Ostrava region in North Moravia recalls a time when there were far fewer of the beasts.

“In my youth, if a wild boar appeared it was a big deal, something unique. But now coming across them is common. In fact, just two weeks ago I was driving to Brno and near Vyškov four or five of them appeared on the road.”

This has become an increasingly common occurrence. There was a four-car collision on the country’s main motorway the D1 last month after a group of four boars wandered into the middle of it, giving new meaning to the term road hog.

It has been reported that wild boars cause around CZK 3 billion in damage to crops in the Czech Republic every year.

František Mariánek – a court expert in the agriculture field – says accurately assessing the cost is extremely difficult, if not impossible. However, he is all too familiar with the damage the animals cause.

Photo: archive of Radio Prague
“They eat corn and potatoes in fields. They also damage crops when they are hunting mice and looking for food… Wild boars aren’t just a problem for hunters, but also for farmers and forestry workers. All of them need to play a role in reducing their numbers. Hunters can’t do it all on their own. The farmers and forestry workers also need to take action.”

Though he regards the growing boar population as problematic, Mr. Mariánek is not in favour of the proposal to allow hunters to shoot them all year round, regardless of age or gender.

“Listen, young boars should be liquidated first and foremost. That means liquidating piglets and one-year olds – at most two-year-olds. But if we want to maintain a population, we need to keep a balance of males and females of similar ages.”

The future of the Czech boar population should be clearer soon. The Agriculture Ministry bill allowing for a cull is due to be discussed by the cabinet before the end of the year.