Wild boar spotted in Bello Horizonte in Marbella. / j. d.

Wild boar in search of food scare residents in Marbella

Neighbours have been left too frightened to take their dogs out at night in case they run in to the animals

JOAQUINA DUEÑAS

The influx of wild boar searching for food in residential areas of Marbella has left residents too nervous to take their pets out at night in case of an unfortunate run-in.

Wild boar have taken over the residential areas of Xarblanca, Artola Baja and the golf courses in Marbella and are currently roaming Bello Horizonte.

"I'm afraid to take the dog out at night in case I meet a wild boar," said Lourdes, a resident of Bello Horizonte, an area situated on the outskirts of the town.

She usually takes her daughters to the park in the afternoon, and has seen how the animals have damaged the swings and torn up the lawn.

"As soon as it gets dark, we leave, and I don't take the dog out after half seven," she said, recalling that when she first moved to the area there was no such problem.

Head of the municipal animal and environmental health service, José Manuel Moyano, explained that the proliferation of boar is to do with the shortage of rain and subsequent lack of food.

"For animals, it is much easier to find food in the rubbish bins and water in gardens," he said. "Marbella is next door to the Juanar national hunting reserve, and wild boar walk 50 or 60 kilometres at night, so it is very easy for them to leave the hunting area where there is danger and move to a calmer place where they can find food," he added.

One of the main attractions for wild boar in urban areas is rubbish.

"One night I was taking the rubbish out and it was dark. A couple warned me not to go to the bin because there were eight or nine wild boars and it scared me," said Carmelo, who only moved to Bello Horizonte a year ago.

Another resident, Tina, has seen a similar situation from her house, "One day we heard a commotion and it was a neighbour who had gone out with his dog and ran into a boar with its young. Both the owner and the dog had to run away."

Tina now only takes the rubbish out two or three times a week to avoid the wild animals.

To try to reduce the number of wild boar and make residents feel more comfortable, the animals are currently being captured in cages in the areas they inhabit the most.

The general director of Health, Lisandro Vieytes, has asked neighbours to notify the Local Police when they spot the animals, who will then contact the veterinary health service to capture them.

Vieytes emphasised that in order to minimise the situation. "It is very important that people throw away their rubbish at the stipulated times, in a closed bag and inside the rubbish bin rather than around it."

He also said that another issue they have encountered is people "who go to see them and feed them," despite it being "forbidden to feed any type of animal on public roads." Another tip is to not "approach or try to touch them, especially when there are offspring around."