Russian boars: ‘Potential threat to public safety’

The Christian Bible states that if a man sees a serious threat to public safety, but nevertheless fails to warn others, God will hold him responsible for any death or damage that takes them unawares.

Accordingly, I now write this letter of warning to you: Please relay it to the general public.

Russian boars have a reputation for being nasty, violent animals.

It is said that in the U.S. Mainland, bears have sometimes been seen climbing trees to get out of their way.

And there is also a story about an off-duty policeman in a rural area (Kentucky?) who was killed by a Russian boar that broke down the door of his house, and then attacked with such speed and violence that the cop never even got his gun into play.

Now the focus shifts to Kauai. It is said that for several years now, certain brainless idiots have been breeding and releasing Russian boars here. And a threat to the general public may be developing as a result.

On July 26, 2016, three people went into Olokele Canyon on a routine mission to clean and maintain the irrigation ditch there.

All three were veteran hunters and pig eradicators who have many hundreds of kills between them.

They were riding in a modified Ford Ranger pickup truck, with no cab, and improvised jump seats over the cargo bed.

The job took longer than expected, and the work party came out well after full dark, driving at night with lights on.

They had reached a small side valley a little less than a mile from my endangered species reserve, driving at some 10 to 15 miles per hour on a smooth section of road, when they heard an extremely loud snort, almost a roar, close behind the vehicle.

Within a split second thereafter, there was a crashing impact against the tailgate of the pickup truck.

When the startled party looked around, they saw a large boar hanging onto the tailgate of the pickup, with its head and two front feet inside the cargo bed, and the rest of its body hanging down outside the back.

The driver then gunned the pickup, causing the boar to lose its grip and fall backward into the road.

Continuing its attack, the animal then ranged forward alongside the truck; the man in the passenger seat crippled it with a hasty rifle shot; and the driver finished it off by running it over with the truck.

From start to finish, the action was over in seconds.

When the dead animal was examined, it appeared to be a half-breed cross between the Russian and native Hawaiian stock.

Several important facts about this attack need to be noted.

1. The boar deliberately attacked a truck that was about ten times larger and heavier than itself.

2. The attack was sudden and violent, and occurred completely without warning, in pitch dark on the moonless part of the night.

3. The attack was totally unprovoked. It occurred in a wide-open area under some kukui trees, with almost no weeds or brush growing there. The boar could easily have escaped by running off in any other direction: but instead, it deliberately chose to attack, by running up at full speed behind the truck, and then leaping some four feet into the air in an attempt to get over the tailgate and attack the passenger in the cargo bay. And that surprise attack very nearly succeeded. It missed that rearmost passenger by only about 2 to 4 feet. If the animal had jumped only four inches higher, it would have cleared the tailgate and got into the cargo bed of the pickup.

4. The attack was so sudden and violent that it took three veteran pig hunters (all of them well armed) completely by surprise. Before they heard that roaring snort, and the crashing impact against the truck’s tailgate, they had not known that a pig was anywhere in the area.

5. It does not take any great degree of imagination to anticipate what could happen to unarmed tourists hiking on backwoods trails, or maile pickers in a forest, or campers sleeping in Waimea Canyon, or school kids on an outing in Kokee, if these rotten tempered animals become common on Kauai. Maybe Hollywood will be able to make a horror movie entitled “Tusks” instead of “Jaws” (“For the adventure of a lifetime, come to beautiful Kauai. Watch your kids get ripped up and bleed to death on one of our scenic hiking trails”).

6. I strongly suggest that law enforcement should make an effort to discover who has been bringing these animals into Kauai. And whoever has done this, should be held civilly and criminally responsible for any destruction that results.

7. For many years I have routinely worked alone, often late at night, in my endangered species reserve on west Kauai. And in all that time I never felt the slightest bit threatened there. But this episode happened less than a mile from my reserve. And there have been other credible reports of Russian boar sightings even closer than that.

I strongly doubt that anything will happen there in broad daylight. But nighttime could be very different: and I am accordingly making preparations to carry a powerful pistol with me in the work.

Carrying a pistol in a shoulder holster (the only way to do it in brush country) is a miserably hot, sweaty, uncomfortable, and inconvenient business, especially since the holster gets soaked in sweat and stinks to high heaven.

But it sure beats having one of these things amputate my legs right below my chin, in a surprise attack out in the bushes.

So — that’s it. I have given you the warning that decency requires, about this potential threat to public safety.

The rest is up to you.

•••

Keith Robinson is a co-owner of Niihau.

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