I don’t like wild boars. Nobody should like wild boars. The island I am visiting these days (Mljet, Croatia) is full of them. 90% of Mljet is covered by woods. This is where wild boars live.
The triumph of the wild boars
We don’t have a past. Me and them. Their population in Kipseli, a region of Athens, is way smaller than in Mljet. Until recently, I could only imagine them in Asterix comic books, and even there they seemed harmless since they usually were cooked. According to the local people, wild boars came here by swimming. From the opposite coast (one hour by ship) or even from the Italian coastline. Which means that the wild boars which survived the journey are certainly the toughest ones. In short, a bunch of champion boars came here to multiply themselves further improving their species and aiming to conquer the island. And people are constantly decreasing in number. In winter, the young ones immigrate and the old ones leave. In summer there are no people here, but only tourists. The triumph of the wild boars.
My friends keep sending me videos and articles about wild boars that attack people, cars, Apostolos Gkletsos. I can hear them laughing before the send button. I don’t have good friends. My friends are boars.
What if a wild boar shows up?
There isn’t much to talk about with the locals that guide us through the island and shows us the woods and the coastline. Talking about wild boars is always a safe topic. I have been writing a new book for two weeks now. This is why I came here in the first place. At the same time, I have been learning about wild boars. They are dominant hunters. They are constantly increasing in number, since there aren’t any other dominant mammals on the island. They are wandering in the woods. Mainly at night. Although dusk is their favorite time. This is when we (my fellow writer and I) get back to the house on foot and realize we are late. It gets dark at 5 here. The house is in the woods. And as soon as the night falls, we are surrounded by the wild boars. Not the real ones. Those we carry in our Kipseli-born heads (that’s me. My friend’s head comes from Volos). All around you can find spots where they dig for roots or other innocent little things they want to murder.
My friend tells me not to be afraid. If a wild boar shows up, we should just stay still. “What do you mean still? If this bulky furious thing with tusks shows up, you will just sit there and watch?” We didn’t reach a conclusion about the way we should defend ourselves against a wild boar.
Nowhere to be seen
The local people tell us that their population has increased out of control. “Oh God” I’m thinking “they must be thousands”. “There are over 37 of them on the whole island” they tell us “that’s why we can bring hunters here so that we will exterminate them”. This number gave me a relief. And at the same time it disappointed me. What do you mean 37? This is not even a fever.
We ask the girl that guides us around the forest how many wild boars she has seen. “I’ve been living for 2 years on the island and I have seen…hm, almost none. But I have heard some of them. I guess”. We are starting to realize that no resident of the island has ever seen a wild boar. Just a story here and then for someone, something. Some hunters have seen them. But this is just reasonable since they later killed and ate them.
We have seen many hares and at least 3 mongooses. Wild boars were nowhere to be seen. It’s something that both satisfies me and disappoints me. How wild can they really be? And what if we saw just one? Big deal. We would stay still until it vanished.
I am fearless. And ready to face the wild hunters of Kipseli.
PS: I would like to thank the guys from “Ulysses’ Shelter” and Thraka magazine for offering us a residency on this beautiful island (no kidding). It was an amazing experience. I would also like to thank the wild boars, for walking around only late at night.