Eight wild boar rescued from a canal in Limburg where they were swimming have been shot dead for being in the wrong part of the province.
The exhausted animals were unable to clamber up the bank of the Zuid-Willemsvaart canal near Weert and were pulled out by firemen in two rubber boats.
However, once the animals were brought to land, a gamekeeper shot them dead, stating there is a zero tolerance policy for boar in that part of the country.
Photographs and footage show how some of the exhausted animals were brought to shore. One picture shows a fireman with his foot on a boar, apparently to make it easier for the gamekeeper to shoot.
Now animal rights party PvdD has asked junior economic affairs minister Sharon Dijksma to explain. The party’s MPs want to know if there was not another solution and if the gamekeeper broke hunting laws.
Animal welfare organisation Dierenbescherming has also expressed its concern at the killing. ‘Very regrettable, and that is putting it mildly,’ the organisation said on Twitter.
In Dutch law, boar are only allowed in parts of the Veluwe and a small part of Limburg near Herkenbosch, about 30 kilometres from where the swimming boar were found. Those spotted outside these areas are shot.
In 2010, a wild boar which turned up in the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve in Flevoland was also shot dead.
The aim of restricting the boar to two areas is to reduce damage to crops and the risk of traffic accidents.
A spokesman for Limburg province told broadcaster Nos the gamekeeper should not have shot the boar because it was a Sunday. ‘Every other day would have been fine,’ the spokesman said.
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