While feral pigs may not be as big of a problem in California as in Texas, there is little question that the animals are widely established throughout the state. Existing in all but two of 58 counties, California’s wild pig population is actually a mix of swine brought over by early Spanish and Russian explorers, which escaped and turned feral, as well as European wild boar, which were introduced in the 1920s. In all that time, however, officials never recorded an unprovoked attack until last Wednesday, when a 50-year-old woman walking her dogs in Gordon Valley was mauled by a boar.
“It’s very, very unusual,” Lt. Patrick Foy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) told KTLA5. “Very rare—I can’t even overemphasize how rare it would be.”
Fox 40 reported that the boar came up behind the woman and knocked her down, instinctively scything forward with its sharp tusks. Wild boars usually attack by charging forward with their tusks pointed front and center. They then step back and attack again if their target is still moving.
Neighbors said that the woman tried to get up after the initial charge, but was quickly put down again. The unidentified victim was later hospitalized for cuts to her legs, buttocks, and arms as she tried to protect her dogs.
“Held on to them and stayed hunkered down real quiet and he finally left,” said neighbor Tim Wellman.
Wellman was one of the hunters that eventually tracked down and killed the pig days later. Although the CDFW classifies feral pigs as game animals—unlike many other states that consider them a nuisance animal—the department also encourages landowners to hunt them or to allow hunters onto their land to harvest them. Much like elsewhere in the country, wild pigs can be highly destructive to both natural environments and agricultural crops.
Wildlife officials are currently investigating why the boar attacked the woman.