Swine fever: Wild boar piglet found decapitated in Rome park

Rome prepares to cull wild boar population as number of swine fever cases rises to six.

The decapitated body of a young wild boar was found in a nature reserve in north Rome on Sunday, about 10 days after the city’s first case of African swine fever (ASF) was detected in the park.

The gruesome scene was discovered by a passerby in the Insugherata reserve, part of the designated swine fever ‘red zone’ which includes large swathes of the city’s north and north-west suburbs.

  • Rome wild boar hit by first case of swine fever

The animal “was clearly beheaded”, said Patrick Bachofner who found the carcass near Via Augusto Conti. He immediately called the police who notified local health authorities.

Bachofner told La Repubblica newspaper that he searched for the animal’s head in the immediate vicinity but was unable to find it.

The macabre discovery was condemned by animal rights activists who are already mobilising to protest a threatened cull of the wild boar in Rome.

The Italian health ministry is preparing to launch a “selective killing” of the cinghiali which, in addition to swine fever concerns, have led some Roman neighbourhoods to introduce curfews for safety reasons.

Containment measures to stem the highly contagious viral disease – which is fatal to pigs and wild hogs but not transmitted to humans – includes a ban on picnics and the fencing off of bins in the red zone.

  • Swine fever: Rome bans picnics and seals off bins in wild boar ‘red zone’

It is also forbidden to feed or approach wild boar, while shoes must be disinfected when leaving farmland or nature reserves.

People can report wild boar carcasses or wild boars that are dying to a 24-hour toll free number, 803555.

Italian farming organisation Coldiretti estimates that Italy has 2.3 million wild boar, with more than 20,000 of the animals living in the province of Rome.

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