NEWS

Climate change blamed for explosion in Greece’s wild boar population

Climate change blamed for explosion in Greece’s wild boar population

Climate change is behind the “explosive” increase in the population of wild boar in Greece over the last two years, according to a study conducted by a researcher at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki who has called for a comprehensive plan to manage the country’s wild fauna.

Dr Christos Vlachos, professor of Forest and Natural Habitat studies at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, said that climate change and a lack of predators were the two main factors contributing to the population increase, as milder winters resulted in more litters and the greater survival of young. Meanwhile, the dearth of predators – including the ban on hunting during the pandemic lockdowns – left the boars without natural enemies or the usual culling carried out by hunters.

Among the problems, he added, was the contamination of the wild boar population with domesticated pigs that had created a population of mostly hybrid animals, which give birth to larger litters than their fully wild counterparts. The elimination of all hybrids was essential in order to avoid road accidents caused by wild boar crossing roads or extensive damage to crops, he said.

The findings are anecdotally confirmed by Greek hunters, who said their sightings of wild boar were double or treble those in the previous year, while farmers reported that the animals were now intruding into farms and human settlements, including in urban areas. [AMNA]