Numbers of wild boars surge

BERLIN Fri Oct 3, 2008 6:59pm EDT

Wild boar stand in the grounds of the Alladale Wilderness Lodge and Reserve Sutherland, Scottish Highlands, Scotland, in this file photo from May 19, 2008. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

Wild boar stand in the grounds of the Alladale Wilderness Lodge and Reserve Sutherland, Scottish Highlands, Scotland, in this file photo from May 19, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Russell Cheyne

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Wild boars are breeding at a huge rate in Germany and wreaking greater havoc than in any other European country by destroying crops, killing pets and even attacking people, according to a new study.

Findings by the Hanover-based Institute of Wildlife Research show that Germany's boar population rose by 320 percent last year because of better access to food and bigger litters of young.

"It's impossible for their habitat to adapt to a surge of this degree," the institute's Gunter Sodeikat said.

Increasingly encroaching on suburban areas, boars have been reported attacking people, killing pets, and digging up corpses in cemeteries. Graveyards and gardens are being ravaged daily, police say.

The surge has also caused mounting destruction of crops and raised the risk of swine fever spreading, Sodeikat said.

According to the institute, the boar boom is exceptional in Germany, though it is not yet clear why.

"German litters have six to eight piglets on average, other countries usually only about four or five," the study said.

(Reporting by Josie Cox; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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