‘It was on top of my head,’ Rome residents impose curfew after spate of wild boar attacks

‘It was on top of my head,’ Rome residents impose curfew after spate of wild boar attacks

Residents across several neighbourhoods in northern Rome will live under a nightly “curfew” after a spate of attacks by wild boar, which have tormented the capital for years.

In the latest attack, a woman said a wild boar was on top of her head after she was trampled to the ground during an attack on Sunday night.

In response, fearful residents of Balduina and six other districts opted to impose an 8.30pm 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 8.30pm,” Gianluca Sabino, a Balduina resident, told La Repubblica newspaper.

Franco Quaranta, the president of a residents’ activist group in Aurelio, said the curfew was an act of “self-protection” by citizens after authorities had failed to take appropriate action against the attacks. “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,” he said.

Wild boars eat rubbish near trash bins in Rome (AP)
Wild boars eat rubbish near trash bins in Rome (AP)

Giovanni Mantovani, who runs a similar residents’ organisation in Monte Mario, said: “These animals are getting closer and closer to people, and it’s not just at night – they are walking the streets at all hours of the day.”

Marta Santangelo, a physiotherapist, was the latest victim in the spate of attacks after she was confronted by a wild boar while walking home with her dog at night. “It was just before 11pm … I was carrying a bag of rubbish and by the bin I noticed boar cubs. The mother was fixating on me. I understood that maybe she was scared and so picked up my dog and ran for cover.”

Ms Santangelo’s attempt to flee was in vain and was attacked by the mother boar and fell to the ground. “She was on my head … I screamed and my dog defended me.”
She was later picked up by a motorist and taken to hospital where she was treated for minor injuries to the face and knee.

In response to the attack, Rome authorities announced anti-boar measures, including fencing-off areas of natural park where the animals enter the city, and regularly collecting waste, particularly bins in areas close to the animals’ main entrance points.

This article by Thomas Kingsley was first published by The Independent on 4 May 2022. Lead Image: Rome has dealt with the issues surrounding boars for years (Reuters).

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