COVID self-isolation: Wild boars take over urban capital in search of food

ISLAMABAD-The restricted human mobility, mainly due to the coronavirus spread, has encouraged wild boars to roam on empty streets and roads of Islamabad apparently in search of food.
The piles of garbage and overstuffed waste bins served as source of an abundant feast for the hogs which have taken over the city due to limited supply of food for them in their sanctuaries amid lockdown.
“Before the lockdown, a large number of wild boars in the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) were relying on the food thrown by the visitors on trails.
Since there is no visitor on the trail amid lockdown, these hairy beasts have descended to the city to establish their colonies on the nullahs’ beds,” said an official of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board Sikhawat Ali while confirming the public complaints regarding the pigs’ presence in the city areas.
Talking to APP, he said most of the wild boars had left the MHNP as those hogs which had already established their colonies in the park did not share their food with them, forcing the others to set up their sanctuaries in such areas where they could get food.
Highlighting the positive impact of lockdown, Sikhawat said the limited supply of food to them would reduce their population by 50 per cent as their breeding was directly proportional to the availability food.
To a query, he said according to the Wildlife Ordinance 1979, the killing of wild boars was banned within the territory of MHNP.
Sikhawat said unfortunately no systematic survey had been conducted to determine the population of the hogs which usually could weigh up to 80 kilograms to 100 kilograms. However, a survey would be carried out in the next month, he added.
Meanwhile, the citizens of capital city have expressed their concern over the wild boars’ visits to their streets in daylight. They called for timely removal of waste from the dumpsters, pointing out that the untimely cleansing of bins as a major source of attraction for the wild boars.
“The presence of pigs in urban areas means giving them access to our homes and gardens which is quite dangerous for our families,” said a resident of G-7 Ishafq Ahmed.
Earlier, those creatures emerge from the embankments of nullahs during night but now they could be witnessed in the daylight, he added.
He urged the departments concerned to take decisive actions as they sneaked into their homes which posed serious threat to human lives.
Another wildlife expert, requesting anonymity, said the wildlife have been considering the city as wild area due to thin presence of people in streets and on roads amid lockdown.

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