The number of wild boar is increasing dramatically across much of Europe. From Spain which have areas supporting populations of hundreds of thousands of boar, to France and even in the UK where boar in the forest of Dean are already being culled regularly to keep their population under control.
Italy has perhaps the worst problem, certainly one of the worst, then estimated 2 million boar roaming the country. It seems to be up for debate as to whether groups of boar can be territorial, nevertheless, when the young leave their parents they disperse into areas around. This has been an increasing problem in the outskirts of Rome, the ball has taken up residence.
In this instance, in the playground of Mario Moderni school (situated near the Vatican) a marksman turned up, shot them with a tranquilizer dart, and took them away to be killed.
The boar had been in the area for a while, indeed the pupils have started to feed it.
It is unclear why authorities felt the need to act in this way, it is more common to catch them in a humane trap. It is of course possible that they were thought to be too dangerous to the health of the students (though what this episode will do to them mental health is anyone’s guess). Allowing predators in Italy to recover would likely hugely reduce this problem – no admittedly if they have become comfortable living in towns humans may need to change how we behave to stop their ability to remain.