Fresh outcry in Italy as third person killed by wild boar hunters

Josephine McKenna
Marco Tosti, himself a hunter, was killed by a companion early Saturday

The third fatal shooting of a 20-year-old Italian man who was mistaken for a wild boar has provoked a political outcry from animal rights groups demanding an immediate ban on hunting.

Marco Tosti, himself a hunter, was killed by a companion early Saturday as they combed the mountains in search of their prey near Santa Rufina, about 40 miles north or Rome.  

Italian media reports said Tosti, was shot when his 70-year-old friend heard a noise, mistook him for a wild boar and fired at him. Tosti was shot in the abdomen and later died in hospital.

It was the third hunting tragedy in Italy in the past month. A 56-year-old hunter died near Velletri south of Rome last week and an 18-year-old was killed in northern Italy at the end of September.

Michela Vittoria Brambilla, president of the Italian League for the Defence of Animals and the Environment, expressed  “profound disappointment” at the indifference of local and national authorities and government ministers to what she called a string of hunting deaths and injuries.

“The terrible killing of innocent creatures is continuing with hunting,” Ms Brambilla said.

“And today a young life was cut short during a wild boar hunt. I am calling for the government and parliament to approve without delay my proposed law to abolish hunting.”

Annamaria Procacci, from the wildlife protection organisation, Enpa, said:"It is unacceptable that in Italy we continue to die because of the whims of those shotguns that are still allowed to kill for fun. The government should force hunters to hang up their guns.”

Three weeks ago Italy’s environment minister, Sergio Costa, called for a nationwide ban on Sunday hunting after an 18-year-old was fatally shot because he too was mistaken for a wild boar.

Nathan Labolani was walking his dog near Apricale, close to the French border, when he was fatally shot in the abdomen with a 300 Winchester magnum rifle at the end of September.

The incident brought a fierce reaction from anti-hunting activists, who said that anyone who strolls through the woods was “gambling with death”. 

Mr Costa was unavailable for comment on Sunday but after the previous tragedy he  appealed to regional governments to immediately ban the hunting of wild boar on Sundays. He also promised to evaluate the need for a national law to “allow greater security and better management of hunting”.