Wild boar threaten Swedish drivers

Elk warning signs on Sweden's roads have become an unofficial national emblem, but now another species is threatening Swedish drivers: the wild boar.

Sweden is home to between 40,000 and 80,000 wild boar, and the number is increasing by an estimated 13 percent a year. Experts are warning that the risk of crashing with one of the creatures is highest at this time of year. Most accidents happen on summer evenings, which is when the animals tend to move around in small flocks.

“Drivers should watch out, particularly in wetland areas, where wild boars are particularly at home,” said Lars Sävberger, head of the SES Group, which monitors wildlife road accidents in Sweden, to Svenska Dagbladet.

Last year, a total of 987 car accidents were caused by wild boar. Of these, 278 happened in Skåne. SvD quotes ecologist Johan Truvé, who says that there are some 15,000 wild boar in Sweden’s densely populated southerly province.

As wild boar have short legs, they rarely go through car windshields as elks often do. The major danger when crashing with a boar is that the driver loses control, according to Sävberger. Wild boar sows weigh 80-90 kilos, while the male boars can weigh twice as much.

The number of accidents involving the creatures is likely to keep on rising as the wild boar population increases. Wild boar became extinct in Sweden in the 1600s, but became popular among aristocrats in the 1800s.

Today’s wild boar are descended from animals that escaped from a pen in Trosa, near Stockholm, in the 1970s, according to SvD. Since the early nineties the population has increased by 13 percent a year.