Sus scrofa conqueror – French hunter

Ldistribution area boar The west called “Eurasia”. (sus scrofa), very wide, proves its unusual vitality and ability to adapt to the most diverse habitats. Imagine that it is naturally the southern limit of its range from the Iberian Peninsula to Eastern Siberia, but also in China, Southeast Asia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia… Its natural extension is found in North Africa. And this does not count all the countries where it is introduced for hunting or breeding purposes.

A little genetics

Such expansion, the diversity of occupied habitats, and sometimes the resulting geographical isolation, imply the fragmentation of species. Shut up scrofa divided into several subspecies adapted to local ecological constraints. These animals are distinguished from each other by phenotypic variations, that is, their morphology (height, weight, general appearance, etc.) or their genotype, that is, their genetics. Thus, two subspecies are often found in our country: boar Continental Europe, also known as “Western Europe”. (Sus scrofa scrofa)his karyotype consists of 36 chromosomes and Sus scrofa sea idionalis , present in Sardinia and Corsica, carries 38 chromosomes. These two subtypes are interfertile and can affect individuals with 36, 37, or 38 chromosomes.

Note that, boar It would have been the great ancestor of the pig from Asia Minor (Sus scrofa domesticus), also with 38 chromosomes and domesticated between 6000 and 9000 BC. J. -C. This chromosomal polymorphism and the various crossings that result from it explain why it is not so clear to determine the exact status of the chromosomes. boar Eurasia. One thing is certain: the farther east, the more wild boar, including the famous attila (Sus scrofa attila)it carries 38 chromosomes instead of the 36 we observe Shut up scrofa scrofa National, the criterion used to consider an animal clean in France.

Shut up scrofa scrofa : the boar From Western Europe

This feature does not mean that a boar It has undergone any hybridization from the Balkans, the Caucasus, the Pamirs or Mongolia. Because in the places where these animals live, the risks of crossing with domestic animals are weak, if not zero, because pigs have not existed there for a long time.

Depending on height, weight, appearance, coat colors, skull measurements (craniometry) or even karyotype, boar From Eurasia Shut up scrofa thus, according to systematists, it consists of between 15 and 25 subspecies. We will keep the most recent classification to which we have added 2 or 3 worthy of attention, the Wilson and Mattermeier classification created in 2011, number 19.

Ours boar From Western Europe (Sus scrofa scrofa), corresponding to the nominal form, can be observed from France and the Northern Iberian Peninsula to the Eurasian part of Russia. We note its presence in Belgium, Northern Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Poland – where scientists describe a certain form. Sus scrofa falzfeini -, the Czech Republic, Albania and the Baltic countries. It should be noted that the animal, which disappeared from Great Britain in the century, has reestablished its roots there since the 1980s after escaping from enclosures or being secretly resettled in the counties of Kent, West Dorset and Devon.

Mediterranean shape Sus scrofa meridionalis

The second subtype is available here: Sus scrofa meridionalis Defined in Sardinia and which boar From Corsica. The origin of these two populations remains obscure. Perhaps these are animals that were first domesticated and then returned to the wild through the phenomenon of darkening, such as Corsican mouflons, which descend from the mouflons of the Middle East, which were domesticated 6,000 or 7,000 years ago. large Mediterranean islands. Naturalist Theodore Althenorth describes the original Sardinian strain as “small”. boar their height does not exceed 50 cm for a weight of 50 kg. Wild boars in Corsica can weigh more. It is true that they are regularly crossed with completely free-living island pigs in maquis, and why not even with secretly imported continental forms. Haut-Taravo is a small village bistro, an old hunter boar Nicknamed the “Taliban” for his full beard and fierce air, he assured us that the maquis had larger, grayer “Ardennes wild boars.” He said that in reality there is less swelling Sus scrofa meridionalis it takes nothing away from the hunting qualities. Perfectly adapted to its rustic and steep environment, the animal defends itself well against dogs.

Other southern forms

Systematics identify other southern forms. That would be the black beast Sus scrofa castilianus In northern Spain and Sus scrofa baeticus in the south, in Andalusia, where it stands out for its small size. Wilson and Mattermeier wake up in central and southern Italy Sus scrofa majorismaller than our pet, with which it regularly hybridizes.

And then there is another Mediterranean subspecies from North Africa that lives in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia: Sus scrofa algirus. This animal with 38 chromosomes probably came from Middle Eastern populations. Even more than ours boar From Western Europe, it stands out for its fantastic adaptability, colonizing the cedar forests of the Middle Atlas in Morocco, as well as the seaside dunes of the Kabyle Corniche in Algeria or even the Sahara oases of Douz and Tozeur in Tunisia. One can also wonder how a person is boarnot as hardy as the dromedary and incapable of withstanding the lack of water, to have traveled such distances in the middle of the desert to get there, was only on the coast, on the banks of Chott el-Jérid. Extension of the Grand Erg Occidental, where the Douz and Tozeur palm groves are located.

From deserts to mountains: the boar From North Africa (Sus scrofa algirus)

Some have hypothesized that these trans-Saharan animals would follow the dry valley floors during the day to take advantage of the shade of the tamarisks and the few scattered gueltas (water points). Transhumation would obviously take place in winter, as in summer any domestic animal in these regions, even algirus , is sentenced to certain death by dehydration. Another question is how an animal that cannot regulate its internal body temperature survives the Saharan summer heat waves. Simply because of the desert’s most precious commodity: water, the blue gold of the Sahara, alone allows the vegetation needed for the desert canton to grow. boar. The irreplaceable fluid also provides access to the palm and market garden plants that the pigs feast on in the oases. Another interest is observed boar Sahara: its hooves are always very long and forked, spreading a little wider like those of deer, which facilitates the animal’s progress in the sand and prevents it from sinking into it.

Sus scrofa attila and Sus scrofa libycus : giants of the east

Range Sus scrofa attilalarge size subspecies boar It stretches from some countries of Eurasia, Eastern Europe (Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, central and southern Belarus, southern Russia) through eastern Turkey, Syria, Iraq and western Iran to the Caucasus. Note that in Turkey Sus scrofa attilaIt rubs shoulders with another subspecies that haunts the northern woods, Sus scrofa libycusliving further south and less drunk but still very well armed. Attila it is also distinguished from its Western European counterparts by its skull, which measures between 41 and 47 cm instead of the maximum of 41 cm observed here. Shut up scrofa scrofa. The animal is taller and heavier: a giant that can weigh up to 600 and exceptionally 700 pounds. In general, older people are very well armed, their teeth regularly reach 22-25 cm … and can even curl up to 30 cm.

But back to subspecies Libyan He woke up in the south of Turkey. It is also often baptized “attracted”, also present in the Balkan Peninsula (Greece, southern Turkey, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina) and in Slovenia, Croatia, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Palestine. Bulgaria claims several record boars of this subspecies, including two world records (see box).

Those further east, in Central Asia

They are also baptized “attracted” although they may belong to other major subspecies. We think of the one who colonized the Kyrgyz and Chinese sides of the Tien-Shan range (Su scrofa nigripes) or even Sus scrofa Davidi, mostly observed in arid areas from eastern Iran to the border of Turkmenistan, India (Gujarat) and Pakistan, where the country’s largest wild boars are found. This subspecies is also found in northern Tajikistan, a popular destination for French lovers of large wild boars like Turkey. In Tajikistan, their total weight is 150 kg, almost not much. On the other hand, these small hunting animals, which age peacefully, are strong armed with teeth that average between 22 and 26 cm in size. Their legs are taller and their coats are lighter than in Europe or the Middle East. It is gray in summer and dirty beige in winter.

Further east there is a subspecies Sus scrofa sibiricus, living in Mongolia and the Russian taiga, south and east of Lake Baikal. We have seen some very large ones in Mongolia, but hunting them is difficult because, like the local herders, they roam a lot and do not stay at home for long.

Awesome boar Manchu

Finally, we reach the remote and mysterious Russian Manchuria in the Amur and Ossouri basins. Here lies the most gigantic of all Eurasian domestic animals: the giant boar Manchu (Sus scrofa ussuricus). This is huge boar weighing up to 300 kg and regularly carrying teeth of 28 cm and more, this record was observed in this incredible animal with 420 kg and teeth of 32 cm! It should be noted that this region of the Russian Far East is home to other prestigious species, including the Manchurian deer, the Himalayan ring-necked bear, and especially the famous Siberian tiger, one of our largest predators. boar mature manchu. Russian Imperial Army officer, naturalist and big game hunter Nicholas Baykov (1872-1958) was one of the first explorers of this wild region, where he traveled between 1902 and 1916…that is, yesterday! In his book My hunts in the Manchurian taiga , he finally mentions Manchurian boars, whose large males are more feared by the natives than the Siberian tiger. He is also surprised by the abundance and rapidity with which this subspecies forms companies, which he assures us can hold from 100 to 200 individuals of any size!

Even today, the region of Manchuria, like others in the Russian Far East or in the remote valleys of Central Asia, probably has not revealed all its secrets. This allows fans of pets with a wandering spirit to continue to covet these elusive trophies that dream of us all!

Large boars of Central Asia,
and Manchurian giants (Sus scrofa ussuricus) in black-and-white photographs taken by Russian researcher Nikolas Baykov.

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