Feral Pigs Becoming a More Serious Issue in Rome

Disease carrying swine are getting the attention of officials.

Feral Pigs Becoming a More Serious Issue in Rome

About 2.3 million wild pigs roam Italy — an estimated 20,000 around Rome.

Italians are getting fed up with the feral pig problem in Rome, where the porcine prowlers continually roam streets, parks, yards, garbage bins and fear nothing. 

Residents and visitors can do little about them, and it seems even the government has thrown up its collective hands. A ban on outdoor picnics was put into place this spring in northern Rome, and some neighborhoods have implemented curfews to minimize interactions. Italy has a grand history of hunting, but not in the city, of course. Attempts to coexist are ongoing but becoming frayed. 

However, a boar in the Insugherata Nature Reserve that tested positive for the African swine virus got officials’ attention pretty quickly. The news outlet Rai reported that other animals undergoing tests were expected to have the fatal, quick-spreading disease that could harm domestic swine. Italy’s love affair with pork and smoked meats won’t stand for threats such as this. 

Other swine tested positive for the disease in the northwest Piedmont and Liguria regions earlier in 2022. It’s the first positive tests near Rome, though, according to the Guardian. About 2.3 million wild pigs roam Italy, and about 20,000 estimated around Rome, according to the farm trade group Coldiretti. If the African swine virus infects domestic stock, it will kill the animals or the herd must be euthanized to help curtail the spread. Chinese farmers reportedly killed hundreds of millions of pigs in 2018 and 2019 because of the disease, according to RaboResearch. 

The disease also has been found in Mongolia, Vietnam, sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Europe. It has not been detected in the United States.


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