Chianti’s wild boar problem ‘out of control’

The plague of wild boar in the Tuscan vineyards of Chianti just won’t go away, as producers call for another cull.

wild-boarMembers of the Chianti Classico Consorzio have recently complained again that the creatures’ numbers are “out of control” and a cull is needed.

They said that last year the animals destroyed thousands of euros worth of grapes, equivalent to around 130,000 bottles of wine.

Many animals like to eat ripe grapes but boar are proving a particular problem, the population density of wild boar in Tuscany is four times the national average. Producers warn that, if unchecked, the animals will begin to have a wider impact on the Tuscan landscape and its agricultural industry.

Boar and deer are also responsible for around 1,000 road accidents every year and the Tuscan regional government has to pay producers €2.5 million a year in compensation for lost earnings.

The local government wants to allow the cull of some 250,000 wild boar and roe and fallow dear over the next three years.

There has been opposition to the plan from environmentalists and animal welfare activists who argue for the reintroduction of natural predators such as wolves and by sterilizing large numbers of animals.

The regional council has countered that sterilizing an estimated 200,000 wild boar and 300,000 deer – not including the great numbers in neighbouring Umbria – is overly ambitious, if not impossible.

The problem is not new. The wild boar were almost hunted to extinction in the early 20th century but numbers ballooned in the 1990s. The Telegraph reported on the problem in January of last year.

It should come as no surprise that one of Tuscany’s most famous (and popular) regional dishes is wild boar ragu.

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