The Israeli city of Haifa, likened by some as ‘Israel’s San Francisco’, is experiencing a new wave of ‘visitors’ and the residents are not all happy about that.
Scores of the wild boars have been spotted roaming the streets of Haifa as of late – tearing up backyard gardens and digging through trash bins – following a move by the city’s new mayor Einat Kalisch-Rotem to ban efforts to cull the local boar population. The new mayor’s pig hunting ban in turn has sparked a battle with residents.
While the city, located at the foot of the Carmel Mountains, has seen wayward hogs come around at night in search for food for years, their behavior has become increasingly boorish since the hunting ban was enacted, according to some residents.
Haifa previously allowed hunters to keep the wild hog population in check, but the practice was scrapped after Kalisch-Rotem’s municipal election win late last year. While the new mayor insists the animals are part of nature and should be protected, some residents want the pigs gone.
So far, the city has done “nothing,” say the residents, while the animals are turning locals’ “lives into a nightmare.” The creatures were now brazenly “walking around in broad daylight,” not merely searching for trash under the cover of night.
“We like animals very much and we chose to live in a city close to a valley [and forest],” one Haifa’s resident said. “But it’s not a jungle here, we do not want the animals wandering among us.”
A spokesperson for Israel’s nature and parks authority said the agency was working with officials in Haifa to solve the problem. One immediate step, she said, is to discourage locals from feeding the pigs.
“We are educating the population that they should not feed these animals, and they should close rubbish bins because [by] feeding them, they encourage them to come,” she said, adding: “When the pig finds a ready-to-eat food supply it does not go in search of food in its natural habitat.”