Monday, August 22, 2011

Wild boars in Haifa

Over the past few weeks, we have been observing the wild boars who visit our garden late at night. They travel in sounders, groups composed of a few families. We have watched the piglets grow. Usually, they run away when anyone approaches, but on Friday night Ivor finally managed to film them, creating the following five-minute video:

Ever since we moved to Haifa seven years ago, I have read reports of wild boars in the city (and surrounding towns and villages). Last year I saw one boar in the garden late one night, and this year the sounder has been visiting once or twice a week.

Haifa is built on a forested mountain, and I like to remember that the forest and its wildlife were here long before humans. The city is still a very green place, with trees everywhere and green valleys between the built areas.

Following the major forest fire in the Carmel forest last December, the wild boars are probably finding it more difficult to survive in the damaged forest, and have moved into the city, with its abundant food supplies. I wonder if they will eventually learn to be friendly with humans.

In some parts of the world, boars are hunted by humans. I think this has been less common in our region, since Jews, Moslems, and Druze traditionally do not eat pork and so would have less motivation to hunt the boar for food.

As far as I know, the local boars have never attacked anyone. There is, however, a risk of running them over at night, and I read that three boars have been run over recently on a dark inter-city road south of Haifa. They have put up warning signs to alert drivers to this risk, but I think street lights might be a better option.

I am grateful for the opportunity to observe wild animals from my home. Some people have to go to the zoo, or on safari, to have this sort of experience. Every day I am aware of living in balance with the natural world, and it broadens my horizons to be constantly reminded that there is more to life that our purely human concerns.

No comments: