Updated Tuesday, July 6, 2021 –

The population of the wild boar in Spain already exceeds one million copies. Although there are no official statistics (agricultural organizations have been asking the Ministry of Agriculture for years, without success, for an exhaustive census of the species), various reports from the sector point to a multiplication of specimens in recent years. The alarm has been triggered during the pandemic, with serious consequences for farmers and ranchers: crops and forest stands are damaged and animal health diseases such as tuberculosis or African swine fever are spread.

Nighttime images of perfectly aligned groups roaming freely through urban streets in search of food have also become common, causing traffic accidents.

To follow this trend, and in the absence of natural predators to combat it, the forecast is that the number of wild boars could double in the year 2025. There is a general opinion: they have lost their fear of people, whom they now see as providers of food.

In full confinement, In April of last year, the Government legally empowered the autonomous communities to maintain control of this species and authorized them to “establish the best way to carry it out.” That is to say, it gave them a wide margin of maneuver to authorize a much more intensive hunt, within the established limits.

Just a year earlier, in March 2019, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, had agreed to create a working group to reduce the overpopulation of wild boars that it especially affected Aragon, Catalonia, Navarra and the Basque Country. However, there were no tangible results and the species did not stop multiplying.

The latest official figures published by the Ministry of Agriculture point to 373,225 specimens captured in Spain in 2018 -the largest quantity by far among the big game species-, with an average weight per wild boar killed of 52 kg, and an average price per unit of 51 euros.

“A plague of wild boars in Valladolid causes losses of 40% in crops”; “Galicia already supports 18 attacks on fauna every day, 70% more than ten years ago; the hit of the wild boar, the most frequent accident with animals”; “The Valdemorillo City Council (Madrid) hires professional archers – using bows and arrows – to reduce the population of wild boars”; or “wild boars threaten the reproductive success of aquatic birds in the Tablas de Daimiel National Park”, are just some of the examples of the impact of these animals.

In the last cited case, a recent scientific study prepared by the Complutense University of Madrid, in collaboration with scientists from the Castilla-La Mancha Institute for Hunting Resources Research, warned that its impact on the 26 wetlands analyzed “it is reaching unsustainable levels” and argued that “the protection of certain environments and especially the absence of hunting favor the proliferation of wild boar, which has a cascading effect on the entire ecosystem.”


The wild boar is an omnivorous mammal, the wild ancestor of the pig. It shows a preference for energy foods such as acorns or corn and adapts very well to any terrain that offers shelter and food. The president of the Royal National Hunting Federation, Manuel Gallardo, describes him as “a precocious animal, with high olfactory power, prolific and adaptable to any terrain and with a great capacity for physical resources to overcome any obstacle“Meanwhile, females can reach reproductive age long before reaching the first year of life to produce between four and six offspring.

From the middle of the year of life they become real predators: “Today, the only effective and efficient solution for population control of the species is hunting”, Gallardo alert. In addition, he warns that “it is not a question of extinguishing them but of establishing a balance and a population limit in the face of their spectacular demographic explosion.” As an example, remember that when you were a young hunter “seeing a wild boar pass through the fields was a real event”, but now it is just the opposite: “The news is not to come across one.”

According to the president of this body, another problem is the lack of consumption of its meat: “It must be put on the market or donated, that it is profitable in any case, because it also carries its costs not to leave the animals lying in the field since there is a decree that prevents it,” he highlights. Until now, only the Basque Country in Spain and Belgium in Europe are the only open channels available, according to Rosa Pruna, president of Asaja Barcelona: “There is no custom here.”


Faced with the increase in the number of specimens, the autonomous communities have begun to take measures. This same year, the Murcia region approved an order to authorize the use of live captures and the use of weapons through the waiting mode in hunting and non-hunting terrain. Extremadura gave the green light in May to the wild boar hunting modality, a historical claim of the hunting sector in this region. The Generalitat Valenciana has authorized raids and the use of trap boxes in the Sierra de Orihuela, Sierra Escalona or the Pedrera reservoir, where there is more overpopulation. There are more examples.

A turning point when it came to raising awareness among administrations took place on June 16, when a young 17-year-old motorcyclist from Sant Mart Sarroca who was driving on the Alt Peneds road was killed by a wild boar. It was not the first. Last year there was another similar misfortune on a road in Madrid. After the event, the Regional Minister of Climate and Food Action of the Generalitat de Catalua has approved a subsidy for hunters between 12.50 and 25 euros for each wild boar killed.

This is a pioneering measure in Spain. “We are very happy, especially because it supports hunting from a moral point of view, very frowned upon by some in recent times, and especially the hunts in particular “, Pruna highlights, who remembers how about a month ago the famous town of Cadaqus, north of the Costa Brava, the scenic and romantic white town of Dal, was flooded with wild boars to the shock of residents and tourists.

We have been claiming it for years, but these episodes have changed the mentality of people against hunting, especially in administrations. Especially the mayors, who now support us and are beginning to make agreements to carry out organized raids, “says Pruna.

In the 2019-2020 season, marked by the pandemic, 4,946 hunts were carried out in Catalonia and 15,781 wild boars were hunted. In the last 22 years, there have been a total of 85,500 hits and some 189,000 jabales killed. The highest densities are found in the northeast of this community, with maximums in Empord, La Garrotxa and Montseny, with an average of between 14 and 20 jabales / m2.

“In areas of the Pre-Pyrenees people cannot plant anything because wild boars destroy everything”, laments the agrarian representative, who estimates the losses caused in the last two decades at about eight million euros in cereal, forage, corn or grass crops, principally.



The number of hunters in Catalonia has dropped dramatically in recent years, especially as a result of the pandemic. It is estimated that in the last 15 years licenses have dropped by 40% (from about 100,000 to about 40,000). “Less and less young people join up and retired people, tired of the bureaucracy of the administration and the criticism on the hunt, end up leaving it because it is no longer enjoyed as before; we are persecuted,” he added, “they call us murderers and people he ends up hanging up the shotgun “, declares Vicens Manen, hunter and owner of an important preserve near Barcelona.

It is against the payment approved by the Generalitat for the capture of the specimens: “It’s a decoy, most of us think it’s better if they don’t give us anything because it’s bread for today and hunger for tomorrow. in a problem – overpopulation – which is also not our competence or responsibility but the State’s, “he highlights. So he has no doubts:” Let the Army go out to kill the wild boars. “

In this sense, this veteran hunter regrets that, in addition to the “small amount” that has been offered, the demands in return are high, such as the minimum number of annual copies per collas (crews) -80-, and the obligation to receive amounts to pay taxes and procedures for it in companies that are currently classified as non-profit.

“We want more important things, not subsidies, such as facilities to streamline all administrative procedures, which are increasingly cumbersome, with greater restrictions to organize night raids, signaling, high insurance costs. In short, we are very punished and singled out and without any open dialogue table with the administration“, complaint.


Environmentalists take a very different position. Pablo Ramos, in addition to coordinating Ecologists in Extremadura, is the representative of these organizations in the Regional Hunting Council, and puts the accent on supplementary and artificial feeding. According to the complaint, the hunters are introduced especially in the summer months so that the wild boars do not leave the areas near the private and sports reserves in order to group them for the next hunting campaign.

“It is about the creation of artificial wild boar farms that are then released for hunting within the preserve”, criticizes to qualify as “nonsense” the subsidies approved in Catalonia: “They will be of no use and will be reproduced in greater numbers and earlier”. For this ecologist, it is essential to control the sources of food that are left conscientiously in the field during the months of July, August and September. Also those that are produced in the cities, “to which the wild boars go because they find remains of food in the garbage,” he says. So more vigilance would be needed.

In fact, this past Friday, the mayor of Cceres, Luis Salaya, asked the neighbors not to leave the garbage bags outside the containers that could serve as a claim to these animals. In addition proposes the sterilization of specimens, with tablets made up of chemical components, to reduce the population of specimens.

Finally, you do not understand, unless it is premeditated, How is it possible that the number of hunters in the national territory is decreasing and, nevertheless, the number of pieces of large game is increasing. In his opinion, the overpopulation of wild boars is a real headache for thousands of farmers and a serious public health problem for all citizens.

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