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17 Dec, 2019 02:43

‘We live in a jungle!’ Wild boars pig out on gardens & garbage in Israeli city as population booms amid culling ban (PHOTOS)

‘We live in a jungle!’ Wild boars pig out on gardens & garbage in Israeli city as population booms amid culling ban (PHOTOS)

The city of Haifa has seen a wave of new tourism – but the newcomers arrived on all-fours. The Israeli city’s wild boar population has undergone an explosion after a new mayor banned pig hunting, sparking a battle with residents.

Scores of the furry-snouted creatures have been spotted roaming the streets of Haifa as of late – tearing up backyard gardens and digging through trash bins – following a move by the city’s new mayor Einat Kalisch-Rotem to ban efforts to cull the local boar population.

While the city, located at the foot of the Carmel Mountains, has seen wayward hogs come around at night in search for food for years, their behavior has become increasingly boorish since the hunting ban was enacted, according to some residents.

“They come to our houses and gardens. We're scared for our children,” one woman, who identified herself only as Avital, told the AFP news agency.

Some kids might scare the piglets which might aggravate [the older boars] and make them attack children.

Haifa previously allowed hunters to keep the wild hog population in check, but the practice was scrapped after Kalisch-Rotem’s municipal election win late last year. While the new mayor insists the animals are part of nature and should be protected, some residents want the pigs gone.

So far, the city has done “nothing,” Avital said, noting that she would like the stubborn pigs removed from the area, while another resident said the animals were turning locals’ “lives into a nightmare.”

One resident, Ilana Dihno, even helped to organize a protest against the boars set for later this month. She said the creatures were now brazenly “walking around in broad daylight,” not merely searching for trash under the cover of night.

“We like animals very much and we chose to live in a city close to a valley [and forest],” Dihno said. “But it’s not a jungle here, we do not want the animals wandering among us.”

A spokesperson for Israel’s nature and parks authority said the agency was working with officials in Haifa to solve the problem. One immediate step, she said, is to discourage locals from feeding the pigs.

“We are educating the population that they should not feed these animals, and they should close rubbish bins because [by] feeding them, they encourage them to come,” she said, adding: “When the pig finds a ready-to-eat food supply it does not go in search of food in its natural habitat.”

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