Between conflict and reciprocal habituation: Human-wild boar coexistence in urban areas

Wild boar populations have become common in urban areas, including the metropolitan area of Barcelona. Humans respond to wild boars in urban environments either habituating, with lower conflict perception and higher acceptance or sensitizing, with reduced tolerance towards wild boars. This study analysed the drivers of human responses, which should allow the adoption of socially accepted measures to manage urban wild boar. After analysing 1956 interviews with Barcelona citizens, we revealed that positive attitudes associated wild boar with aesthetic value, closeness to nature and sympathy, and were more frequent in young citizens with urban background and high education, animal lovers habituated to wild boar through contact without negative experiences. Conversely, negative attitudes were concerned about city fouling, safety or health, and accepted lethal management measures. These were more frequent in older citizens with rural backgrounds, lower education, low contact with wild boar, or sensitization through negative experiences. For the first time, we document humans’ sensitization and reciprocal habituation to wild boar in urban areas.

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