Posted by: elambend | December 17, 2008

Feed the Swine with Lead

Until today, I did not know that Berlin had a wild boar problem. As happens in many situations, city folk find wild animals to be cute (until they kill a child or more favored animal). Even when a cougar found itself in Chicago, a block from an elementary school, many decried the police’s decision to kill it.

The final paragraphs of the Berlin story are the best:

Some Berliners are defying the law every night, bringing boars food out of affection for the beasts. Unemployed truck driver Michael Gericke opened the trunk of his white Mercedes and tossed corn onto a parking lot. A score of hogs scrimmaged over the spoils. One tried to climb into the trunk.

Mr. Gericke says he has been feeding boars here every night for 12 years, making him the doyen of Berlin’s boar-loving underground. Every two weeks he spends €15, or about $20, of his jobless benefits on a 110-pound sack of corn. “Feeding them corn diversifies their diet,” he says.

Only a handful of people have come out to feed the foragers on this December night. In summertime, says Mr. Gericke, hundreds of Berliners show up.

Berlin’s forestry officials say they’re filing charges against Mr. Gericke that could lead to a hefty fine. Mr. Gericke says that won’t stop him, because he can’t pay anyway. “Even if they send me to prison instead, I won’t stop.”

His loyalty to boars stems from an epiphany he had years ago, when he opened his car door and a large tusker he’d been feeding hopped in. “I thought he was going to bite my leg off,” says Mr. Gericke.

Instead, the boar put his head in Mr. Gericke’s lap. “It was as if he was saying, ‘Thank you,'” Mr. Gericke says.

Mr. Eggert, the hunter, thinks it’s time Berlin’s authorities got tough. He says: “We should just gather hunters at the these feeding sites, make the civilians stand aside, and feed the swine with lead.”

A nice Teutonic statement.


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