Rome mayor orders inquiry into wild boar killing in kids playground

Killing of wild boar family provokes wave of protest in Rome.

Rome mayor Virginia Raggi has called for the immediate establishment of a commission of inquiry into the killing of a family of wild boar at a childrens' playground near the Vatican on Friday night.

A statement from city hall said the inquiry was necessary to "shed light on the facts and assess any profiles of responsibility" for the killing of the animals, undertaken by the polizia provinciale and authorised veterinarians.

The incident occurred on the evening of 16 October at the Mario Moderni playground on Via della Cava Aurelia, a quiet street just off the busy Via Gregorio VII thoroughfare, about one kilometre from St Peter's.

The playground is located at the end of the street, which leads into greenery and farmland, and it is believed that the wild animals were first attracted by the rubbish overflowing out of the bins opposite the entrance.

Once inside the playground however they were closed in and the gate was locked, leaving the animals trapped for more than 24 hours.

During this time crowds of people, including many children, came to see the enclosed animals and bring them food.

However the expected release of the boar family back into the wild was not to happen, despite offers from environmentalists.

The scene at Mario Moderni playground on Friday night.

When authorities arrived on the scene, cordoned off by local and state police, they were carrying rifles. The boar were shot with tranquiliser darts, first the mother then the six piglets, before being put down by lethal injection, in front of horrified onlookers who filmed the scene.

Animal rights activists, who say they are initiating legal proceedings over the "unjustified" killing, were joined the next evening by Rome residents in staging a "wake" for the animals on Via della Cava Aurelia, holding candles and flowers.

Outrage over the animals' killing has spilled into the general public, with the mayor being bombarded on social media by angry citizens.

However, despite Raggi's call for an inquiry, the city approved measures - exactly one year ago - to cull Rome's wild boar population or, when possible, catch the animals alive and send them for breeding for "food purposes" to authorised farms.

The measure was approved in October 2019, together with the Lazio Region, ostensibly due to the animals' role in causing "road accidents in urban and semi-urban areas" such as the north-west suburb of Monte Mario and southern areas including Spinaceto, on the fringes of the Decima Malafede nature reserve.

Residents in Rome's suburbs have long complained of problems caused by wild boar which they say present an "intimidating presence" in urban green areas, and can be seen rummaging through the city's trash, often in daylight.

Wild boar in Italy

There is an estimated population of one million wild boar in Italy. The tusked animals can weigh up to 140 kg and are extremely dangerous if disturbed while with their young.

Cover image: file photo

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Address Via della Cava Aurelia, 00165 Roma RM, Italy

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Rome mayor orders inquiry into wild boar killing in kids playground

Via della Cava Aurelia, 00165 Roma RM, Italy