Iberian Wild Boar on Camera

We live on the outskirts of a village 80 km from Valencia City, Spain. This rural village lies in a valley surrounded by mountains and hills, and consists of approximately 550 houses dotted around orange groves. There is one street of about 200 meters with two bars close to each other.

The mountains and hills are covered with jagged rocks with dense thorny bush making it very difficult to penetrate, and provide a safe haven for the Iberian Wild boar (Sus scrofa baeticus). Each evening the wild boar come down from the mountains and hills to forage in the orange groves, rooting for earth worms in the moist irrigated soils. They don’t damage the citrus but damage the drip irrigation systems. The farmers can get permission to hunt them at night on the basis of crop protection. However, the law states you can’t shoot within 200 meters of a dwelling.  This limits the farmers hunting, as most citrus groves are close to houses.

As the boars move around the citrus groves they set the dogs off barking. Fortunately for the boars few people in the village are  aware that their dogs are barking at wild boar. The boars are not frightened by these dogs and will continue rooting regardless of the dogs.  From my experience and now confirmed on  our camera, when the sows with piglets are confronted by dogs one sow will stay with the piglets and the other will aggressively attack the dogs chasing them well over a 100 m.

We decided it would be interesting to meet these characters of the night and I started putting out feed, every night  for weeks and was about to give up,  when to my delight,  the feed had at last been eaten. It then took a few more weeks of feeding, until the boars came every night.

The next step was to buy the camera and DVR recorder. Finally all was set up and the first night one boar appeared on camera and over the following weeks there were just two boars feeding and never at the same time.

One evening  two sows and 8 piglets  arrived and now  come every evening at 9.pm (central European time) and there is about 10 minutes of light before the camera switches to infrared and black and white. They stay until 11.30 and then move off to the orange groves. After midnight there are two young boars that come together and the two adult boars sometimes appear .The sows and their piglets generally come back around 4.00 am on their  way home  to the mountain . One night we briefly had 5 adult boars and 8 piglets on camera . The sows soon chased off the males.

In the coming months It is going to be very interesting to watch the piglets grow and the interaction between them and their mothers.

All the literature suggests the Iberian wild boar are not territorial. It seems to me that this group I am observing stay within our area. I know where they sleep in the day and where they feed at night.  Around the village there are several groups coming down from a different part of the mountain or hills. I suspect each group has its own  territory.

These wild boar are very selective feeders . They are not interested in any green or root vegetables. The farmers here only grow citrus. They don’t eat the acorns from the scrub oak. Apart from earth worms which I don’t think can sustain them , I wonder what their main diet consists of. They are all in good condition.

 

Until next time

Chris Hallamore

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