Wildlife officials in Berlin say they plan to “withdraw” the cheeky porker after it was photographed leading a nudist on a wild chase near the Teufelssee lake area in early August.
“Withdraw” is a polite way of saying they hope to shoot it when boar-hunting season opens in the autumn.
Photos captured by Adele Landauer, an actor and life coach, show the mother sow and its two piglets running away from a middle-aged naked man on Aug. 5, in an incident that made headlines around the world. The boars wandered into a popular sunbathing spot and devoured a pizza from the man’s laptop bag, then grabbed the bag and ran off with it when he tried to chase them away.
The man eventually caught up with the boars and got his bag back without harming them.
Berlin’s top forest ranger, Katja Kammer, says the boar family has become too comfortable around humans and will need to be culled.
“This wild boar and her two young are frequent visitors at Teufelssee,” she told Germany’s RBB news outlet. “They phlegmatically forage in broad daylight over the grass looking for food wherever there are bathers. They have lost any instinct of shyness.
“It’s only luck that, to date, nothing serious has happened.”
Nevertheless, the sow will likely get a stay of execution because of her children. Kammer pointed out that it’s illegal to kill a mother boar with piglets under six months old.
Kammer’s comments have triggered fierce backlash from animal lovers who want to see the boar, nicknamed Elsa, spared from the hunt.
Aktion Fair Play, an animal rights group in Berlin, led a small protest calling for Elsa to be spared earlier this week.
“Elsa belongs to the Teufelsee and there has never been any problems,” the group wrote on Facebook. “Peaceful coexistence seems to work well here and, in our opinion, is also the only acceptable way to deal with wildlife.”
The group also pointed out that the world was “delighted” by the viral photos of the laptop theft.
“Only the forestry office appeared to get no pleasure from them, deciding instead to shoot the sow and her young.”
More than 9,000 people have signed a petition to spare the boar family from hunters.
Wild boars are a growing nuisance around Berlin, where they’ve become increasingly bold during coronavirus measures and are known to rummage through garbage. The animals are also disease carriers, Kammer said.
The boar family reportedly struck again one day after the nudist incident, snatching food from three students in the Teufelssee meadow.
Marc Franusch, a spokesperson for Berlin Forests, told the city’s B.Z. news that the boars are not in immediate danger and their fate is not sealed.
“Shooting wild boars at Teufelssee is neither safe nor permissible under the given conditions,” he said in a separate interview with RBB.
“However, if there are particular dangers for people or animals at places like the bathing area at Teufelssee, suitable measures must be taken to avert these dangers in case of doubt.”