Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Berlin's Wild Boars

 When we got back to Berlin, we learned from our daughter that her roommate/landlord had encountered a wild boar walking to the subway station a couple days before.  I've recreated the scene here using a picture of the street where it happened and a porcelain boar we saw at Jagdschloss (hunting castle)  in Grunewald, where we walked Sunday to see a festival. 

 The Jagdschloss had a small festival Sunday which included a wild boar on a spit and you could have a sandwich for €6 (which my computer currency converter says is $7.40 today).

 We got there so late they let us in free, so I imagine the boar was a lot bigger when they started. 

The National Wildlife Federation adds some history:

Long-snouted and shaggy-haired, wild boars, native to the woodlands of central Europe, have long been a strolling--albeit occasional--presence in the German capital. But when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, residents discovered that the 96-mile barricade had confined more than the East Germans. It had also prevented boars in the surrounding forest from inhabiting their historic range, which now happens to include the city's suburbs. On the outskirts of town, changes in agricultural practices, such as greater production of corn--a boar delicacy--have also drawn the creatures closer, while fruit-bearing city trees help to sustain them.
Combined with hunting bans and an absence of natural predators, these changes have unintentionally made Berlin, often described as the world's greenest capital, a boar's playground, says German photographer Florian Möllers, who for five years has used his lens to get up close and personal with Berlin's wildschwein.

And Businessweek.com adds some statistics:
The German capital’s wild boar population has been cut by more than half to about 3,000 because of hunting and cold winters, city officials said.

“The boar population has been radically reduced,” Marc Franusch, a spokesman for Berlin’s forestry agency, said by telephone today.

An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 wild boars roamed Berlin’s parks in 2008, Franusch said. Since then, hunters have killed about 4,500 of the stiff-furred, tusked hogs that can be as long as five feet and weigh up to 300 pounds (136 kilos), he said.
Anchorage folks sometimes think we're the only people dealing with wild animals in town, but clearly others have to work out similar problems.

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