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Cinghiali: Wild boar invade Rome streets

Wild boar continue to make the news in Italy.

A video showing a dozen wild boar, or cinghiali, strutting along a busy Roman street has gone viral in Italy.

The footage, filmed on Via Trionfale in the city's northern suburbs, comes amid a heated debate over how to handle the animals' growing incursion into city life.

The video displays the ease with which the 'urbanised' boar navigate the traffic, leading some Romans to joke that after 'piste ciclabili' bike lanes the city should introduce 'piste cinghiabili' - wild boar lanes.

Jokes aside, the problem is a serious one, with several cases in recent days of cinghiali present outside schools and kindergartens in north Rome, where they have become a frequent sight.

Over the summer the animals were photographed outside Italy's foreign ministry at the Farnesina, in the Monte Mario suburb near the city's Stadio Olimpico.

Once confined to nature reserves such as Insugherata in the northern fringes of Rome, in recent years cinghiali have discovered that it is easier to rifle through the city's trash than go foraging for food in the woods.

This problem is compounded by reports of people feeding the tusked animals which can be extremely dangerous to humans if approached when there are young cinghiali present.

The wild hogs have also caused multiple road accidents at night, posing particular risks for motorcyclists.

So who exactly is in charge of Rome's wild boar? The answer appears complex, with multiple agencies involved, complicated further by animals moving in between public and privately-owned land.

Rome mayor Virginia Raggi recently initiated legal proceedings against the surrounding Lazio regional government over the "massive and uncontrolled presence" of wild boar in the capital, accusing the region of failing to implement “effective management plans for these animals.”

Yesterday the mayor repeated that the responsibility lies squarely with Lazio, pointing to newspaper headlines about wild boar in other areas of the region such as Rieti and Viterbo, far from Rome.

Raggi wrote on Facebook that the Lazio region "has not bothered to prepare effective plans to counter the problem", accusing regional authorities of "doing nothing."

The cinghiali have now become a election issue in Rome, as the mayor seeks a second five-year term in office in just 10 days' time.

"My detractors continue to use photos and videos of wild boar around Rome, giving me full responsibility", Raggi said.

"It is clear that wild boar are a problem that does not only concern the capital. If a lady is chased by a wild boar in Formello, a small town north of Rome, the next day the newspapers say I am responsible."

Raggi said she understood that an electoral campaign is in full swing but claimed: "This attitude is intolerable."

Wild boar in Italy

The issue of wild boar does not only concern Rome or the Lazio region, with the animals making headlines across Italy, including in Turin where a pair of cinghiali were filmed in the city centre the other night.

Farming group Coldiretti estimate the animal's population in Italy to have reached a record 2.3 million, blaming the boar for causing "at least €200 million worth of damage to crops" every year.

Marymount - International School Rome
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