Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Night I Chased a Pack of Wild Boars from My Garden

It was just before one in the morning when my daughter woke me up. She had heard noises outside and thought it was someone trying to break into our house. But then she heard grunts. Within seconds I was running to the back door, ready to confront the wild boars that were ravaging our garden.

I ran up our deck pathway barefoot, shouting, and suddenly I was surrounded. They were kicking up dirt, grunting, storming through plants and bushes. The boars were desperately searching for a way out of our fenced-in backyard.

I stood there, phone in hand, ready to take a once-in-a-lifetime photo of the wild animals racing around me, but my camera was mistakenly set to selfie mode.

In any case, it was too dark and I never really saw any of the boars clearly, only fast-moving shadows. 

My daughter, standing on our patio, called out a warning as more boars dashed out of the bushes behind me. Fearing they would attack her she went back inside. She said there were at least six of the animals, but she couldn't say for sure if they were big or small.

The gate we had put up at the entrance to our garden/the garden next door was open. I assume it was not closed that night, but even if it was, the boars could have forced their way through it. At this stage it was good that it was open because it offered the boars an escape route. One of them ran instead for the fence and dug its way out as I watched.

I was upset with myself for playing with my phone, but there was nothing I could have done better. The beasts were frightened by my shouting, by my stomping noisily up the pathway, and by my presence. I certainly didn't want to throw stones and agitate them further.

One neighbor did throw stones at them for ten minutes. The boars did not run away but they didn't go into his backyard. Our next-door neighbors were not so lucky. They have invested a lot of money in their garden and the boars thoroughly destroyed their grass (and this was the second time they've done this).

The boars were possibly digging for bulbs (they did not eat any flowers) but it was more likely that they were searching for water. The extensive damage in the neighbor's grass was surprisingly in a straight line, probably where the irrigation tubing was laid.

Needless to say, our neighbors were heartbroken the next morning. Our grass is not in as good shape as theirs and as they say, the grass is greener on the other side, so that is what spared us. Until next time.

This was not my first encounter with the boars who have made the hills and forests around Moshav Neve Ilan their home. I have written about them twice before:

Boars are a protected species in Israel, but they constitute a serious problem. There are neighborhoods in Haifa where packs of boars roam the streets, even during the daytime hours. Municipal councils are not allowed to set out poison or attempt to kill them in any other way. Boars have no natural predator in Israel, and as neither Jews or Muslims eat boars or pigs, there are no incentives to hunt them for food.

The video does not show the boars in my garden, but rather boars elsewhere on Neve Ilan the same night. The video was filmed by a neighbor and shared on social media.

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