Wild Boar Attacks Prompt Curfew in Seven Roman Neighborhoods

A wild boar near a trash bin in Rome.
A wild boar near a trash bin in Rome. ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP via Getty Images

In seven districts in the north of Rome, Italy, residents no longer dare to step outdoors at night. 

The reason? A spate of wild boar attacks that have left residents feeling unsafe on the city streets after dark and embracing an 8:30 p.m. curfew.

“On the [social media] chats between people in the district, and especially in group chats between people who have dogs, it is advised not to go out after 8.30 p.m.,” Gianluca Sabino, who lives in Balduina, one of the seven districts, told La Repubblica newspaper, as The Guardian reported. “Because at night, if somebody falls over or is hurt and nobody is around to help, then they could remain on the ground for who knows how long.”

Wild boars have one of the largest ranges of any mammal in the world, according to UPI. More than two million of them live in Italy, and as many as 20,000 in Rome. They have sharp tusks and can grow to be as heavy as 220 pounds. While they are not usually aggressive, they can pose a threat to humans when provoked. 

What provokes them, director of the wild animals unit at animal-welfare organization LAV Massimo Vetturi told The Guardian, is the belief that either their young or their food source is threatened. 

“These are the two critical elements that can unleash an attack, from any wild animal, not just boar,” he said. “But if a boar is close to an overflowing bin and a human approaches, it will act in a way to remove the threat to its essential food source. The real problem in Rome is that there has been no management of the problem.”

Wild boar attacks have been a problem in Italy’s capital city for years. They have moved through some neighborhoods in packs of 30, according to UPI. The attack that prompted the curfew came on Sunday night, when a boar trampled a woman and stood on her head, The Independent reported. 

“It was just before 11pm… I was carrying a bag of rubbish and by the bin I noticed boar cubs,” the woman, Marta Santangelo, recalled, as The Independent reported. “The mother was fixating on me. I understood that maybe she was scared and so picked up my dog and ran for cover.”

However, hiding did not work and the boar attacked. A good Samaritan later found Santangelo, and she received treatment at a hospital for minor injuries. 

The event worried residents. 

“This time the victim was an adult – but what if it happens to a child? With [the boars’] teeth, even just a bite to the leg is enough to jeopardise someone’s life,” Franco Quaranta, who leads a neighborhood group in Aurelio, said, as The Independent reported. 

Quaranta said the curfew was a “self-protection” measure because city authorities had not done enough about the incidents. The city did say it would close off entrances to natural areas near the city and collect garbage more frequently. 

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