Saturday, July 11, 2020

Boar Meet

I ran into a pack of wild boars the other day. Wild boars? Is there any other kind?

It was on one of my 5am runs that I encountered an adult boar and six piglets. The smaller creatures quickly vanished into the brush, but the adult turned to me and moved steadily forward. It grunted as it approached.

I have written about boars before, and how they became uninvited visitors on my moshav. The last time I saw boars was in the middle of the night a year ago, when two huge creatures ran across my path. But I knew they were still around.

Overturned garbage bins. Garbage on the street. Hoofprints in the garden. Uprooted plants. More garbage.

Metal gates were installed around the garbage bins on the street and along with my neighbors, a fence was constructed around our side-by-side gardens. With less food to entice them, hopefully the boars would just go away.

Why are there so many boars lately? There’s been a lot of construction in the foothills around Jerusalem – new neighborhoods and new roads. The less natural habitat available for the boars and other animals, the more they intrude into our lives. They are drawn to areas where people live.

Boars are a protected species in Israel. Municipal councils are not allowed to set out poison or attempt to kill them in any other way. And as neither Jews or Muslims eat boars or pigs, there are no incentives to hunt them for food.

This week, on one of my 5am runs, I heard something that sounded a bit like rain off to my left. The noise was loud – I heard it over the music played from my Spotify playlist. I glanced over a row of bushes and that’s where I saw them. A huge adult and six little piglets. And they were moving very quickly, hooves kicking up dust in their wake.

The animals crossed an empty lot and the six piglets vanished into the brush. I pulled out my phone and aimed it at the large adult. It turned to me and began to approach.

I snapped off a few photos as the adult grunted. It spun around and then followed its piglets, disappearing from view.

The next morning, I saw them again. This time there were two adults. A family, apparently.

You never know what you will encounter when running in the early hours of the day. Maybe I’ll meet the boars again. Maybe next time it will be a pack of jackals, as those animals are also abundant in the Jerusalem foothills.

With the boars gone, I put my phone back into the running belt around my waist and picked up the pace. There were still four kilometers to go on my run.

Related article:

Late Night Encounter with My New Neighbors

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