Plague of wild boar causes “hundreds” of road accidents in Portugal

A “plague” of wild boar has caused hundreds of road accidents in rural Portugal and is being blamed for the spread of diseases – the most worrying of which is tuberculosis.

According to Lusa, fears are that infected meat could enter the food chain, posing a danger to public health.

The plague is blamed on agricultural land falling into disuse, with habitats for wild boar thus increasing.

In the Alentejo, hunters talk of a “large plague” that has caused “several accidents” as well as destroying birds nests and the burrows of rabbits and hare.

Damage too has affected vegetable plots, with boars trampling what they don’t eat.

Worst affected areas are the Alentejo, though hunters have stressed that the problem is national and “very worrying”.

A big issue is that a boar infected with tuberculosis could be sold for its meat without the illness being detected, as vets do not always check hunters’ kill, says Lusa.

Veterinary association president Jorge Cid told the news agency that some cattle have already had to be destroyed, due to contracting tuberculosis from wild boar and “there are risks for people”.

Cid says the way ahead is a national team of veterinary inspectors – something difficult to put into action considering that there are “a hundred boroughs that don’t have a municipal vet”, while the ICNF (institute for the conservation of nature and forests) has said hunters need to be properly informed so that they can spot signs of disease in any boar that they come across.

Meantime, one driver told Lusa how he drove into a group of 15-20 wild boar, with “no time to break or swerve” between Vidigeira and Pedrógão (Alentejo).

Luckily for Rui Cândido of nearby Portel, he was driving “a tough vehicle”, which protected him despite killing at least two of the “large animals” outright.

Damage? €2,700 says Lusa.

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