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Haifa is the third-largest city in Israel (after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv) . It is built on the slopes of Mount Carmel, all the way to the Mediterranean coast. Haifa has a variety of wildlife, so let’s meet its wild boars!
Where In Israel Is Haifa
I moved to Haifa in my early 20s to study psychology, and fell in love with the northern city on the first sight. I loved its mountain topography and how green it was. During my bachelor’s studies, I used to live in the dorms of the University of Haifa, and was always impressed by the wonderful location. At the outskirts of the city, near Mount Carmel National Park, the university is in a great location if you love nature and wildlife like I do.
I ended up living in Haifa for about 10 years before moving to Germany. After leaving the dorms, I moved to a garden apartment, close enough to a wooded valley. Those were the pre-smartphone days and, sorry to say, I was not really into photography back then like I am now. So, I cannot show you evidence of the variety of wildlife I encountered, but I can tell you how excited I got every time I got to see one of those animals so close to home. Here’s a short list of what I saw: bats on the tree outside my bedroom window, jackal in the garden path, mongoose on the road. Also (encounters I was not so thrilled about): tarantula in the bathtub and centipede in the hallway. And, of course, wild boars.
Wild boars used to come to our garden very late at night. At first, it was a bit scary—who is walking in the garden in the middle of the night, making so much noise? — but I soon learned that noise is a good sign. No reasonable burglar or serial psycho would make so much fuss. The wild boars did, though. With their cute little hooves, they sounded like Carrie Bradshaw on stilettos trying to walk on a stone terrace (and failing), and it was always so fun to watch. Less fun was the amount of damage they made to the garden, digging for roots and other foods, but hey, it was a rented apartment, so I did not mind and was always happy when they came to visit.
As I said, I don’t have reasonable quality photos from back then, so here’s what Dall-E created when I asked it for an image of a wild boar near the University of Haifa. I think it’s gorgeous!
Wild Boars are Everywhere in Haifa
Fast-forward years later, I moved to Germany for my Ph.D. and left my wild boars behind. I still have family in Haifa and when I come to visit, I constantly try to catch a glimpse of the wildlife there. Finding wild boars in Haifa is not that difficult anymore, though. Wild boars don’t have natural predators in Israel, since most (all?) large predators (e.g., leopards) went extinct. The amount of available food in the cities (from garbage, stray cat feeding stations, gardens, and more) allowed the wild boar population to grow. Now they roam the streets almost every night, sometimes also during the day.
As a (sort of) tourist in Haifa now, all I have to do to see them is walk outside at night, get my mobile phone ready, and wait. Here are some wild boars I filmed near the Carmel Center during my last visit in August:
Silly tourist fun aside, as the boar population grows, it has more and more encounters with humans. Some end with damage to property. Rare cases end with injury. Many people in Haifa are not satisfied with the situation, and I hope better solutions will come up soon.