PESHAWAR  -   Wild boar, a species usually found in the sub-tropical regions of the country, has now started showing its presence in the temperate hilly terrains of Galliyat, surprising the environmentalists and locals as well.

During the last one decade, wild boars have started appearing in Galliyat, upper areas of Margalla hills, Kashmir region and Khyber Pakthukhwa.

Environmental scientists are considering changing weather patterns due to global warming and rapid urbanization as reasons behind change in lair of the specie.

The unusual and rapid migration of the wild specie into northern region has posed a serious threat to its rich ecology by damaging local flora and fauna, besides badly impacting livelihood of the farming community through destruction of crops in search of food. 

The environment of the protected area of Ayubia National Park in Nathiagali and alpine region in its vicinity are also under threat because of destruction of forest caused by herds of wild boars.

“Wild boars are fond of roots and uproot the whole plant causing destruction of forests in the region,” apprised Aftab Ahmad, an M.Phil student of Forestry and Wildlife Department of Haripure University of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

About reasons behind arrival of boares to hilly areas, Aftab who is doing research on incidence of wild boar damage in Galliyat, said according to research findings and discussion with experts, climate change is the main reason which altered weather of mountainous areas making it hot and favorable for the animals of tropical region.

To substantiate his viewpoint about impact of global warming on northern region, Aftab said apart from animals, plant species like Cheer pine which is a tropical region tree has now been found in upper areas of Margalla and Galliyat.

The blue pine specie of temperate region is now found at sub-alpine area at an elevation of more than 9000 feet, he hastened to add.

Urbanization is also a big reason behind shifting of boars to Murree from Rawalpindi, Potohar region and Islamabad from where it scattered to the whole Galliyat via Margalla hills, Aftab opined.

Due to rapid increase in population of the wild specie, destruction to forest is at brisk pace and needs urgent measures for protecting ecology and environment of the region, he warned.

The animal is also destroying soil in the region by digging through its hooves in search of roots, Aftab continued.

Main affectees of wild boar migration to Galliyat are farming community whose whole farms are destroyed by animals.“My whole field of potato and maize has been decimated by wild boar inflicting sever financial loss on me and my family,” narrates Safdar Zaman, a dweller of Kalabagh area in Nathiagali.

Talking on telephone, Safdar said he owns a little piece of land and is highly dependent on yields from it, but due to attack by wild boars his livelihood is totally destroyed, leaving him in a state of shock and grief.

Safdar said that several farmers in Galliyat have even stopped cultivation over their agriculture land fearing destruction and losses from wild boar.

Riaz, another farmer from Kalabagh area, has dropped the sickle by abandoning farming as a source to earn living and opted for working on daily wages at a shop in Nathiagali.

Riaz said he also had a little piece of land and after facing destruction and damage to his agriculture produce due to attacks by wild boars for the last couple of years, decided to abandon farming and start working on daily wages.

Same is the predicament faced by the whole farming community of this hilly terrain of Galliyat and Margalla region, Riaz summed up.

“Reports about attack of wild boar on human have also started appearing causing fear among the denizens and tourists visiting Galliyat,” informed Sajid Ali, field assistant WWF-Pakistan and an expert on leopard trapping in Gailliyat.

During current winter season two incidents of wild boar attack on human beings are reported, Sajid informed.He said wild boars are aggressive in nature and even bite like dog. In the recent attack, the animal had bitten a young boy on his leg.

Similarly, in another attack two girls received injuries in a fall during their run for safety from attacking wild boars, Sajid added.

In winter, he continued, they come close to human settlement in search of food and increases risk of attacks on locals.Sajid warned that population of wild boars is spreading very fast in the region because he said in every camera trap, installed by WWF Pakistan for checking the movement of common leopard, they found pictures of wild boars.

The first picture of the animal was found in 2008 near Kuldana in the vicinity of Murree and now is spread into the whole region, Sajid added. “The loss due to wild boar to ecology and agriculture of Gailliyat is very enormous,” concurred Dr. Mumtaz Malik, Former Chief Conservator Wildlife Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“Global warming is the main reason behind migration of animal to northern region where temperature has become favourable for it,” he opined. Mumtaz Malik who belongs to Mashera district of Khyber Pakthukhwa said complaints of crops destruction by wild boars are also received in his village. “During my recent visit to ancestral home, I found totally destroyed fields by herds of wild boar.”

For containing growing population of the wild boar and its damage to farming community in northern region, Mumtaz Malik suggested launching of hunting programme in pattern with `Markhor Trophy Hunting Scheme’ allowing foreigners to hunt the animal.

The government should also announce financial incentives for locals over killing the animal, he added.

Similarly, he continued, people should also try to erect fences around their fields, besides keeping dogs for protection from losses to agriculture crop by the wild intruder.