Disturbing the Dead: Wild Boar Wreck One of Europe's Biggest Cemeteries

Marauding wild boar have disturbed the peace of one of the biggest cemeteries in Europe in their quest for food, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake.

No respect for the dead.
DPA

No respect for the dead.

A horde of wild boar has wreaked havoc in one of Europe's largest graveyards south of Berlin, devastating flowerbeds, ploughing up lawns and covering hundreds of memorial stones with soil.

"They came at the weekend, there must have been 10 or 15 of them including their young and they were digging for worms," cemetery administrator Olaf Ihlefeldt told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "They've caused thousands of euros worth of damage."

Stahnsdorf cemetery has 120,000 graves, including some famous personalities including Werner von Siemens, the founder of the Siemens industrial group, and the artist Heinrich Zille.

The marauding boar didn't dig deep enough to uncover coffins, but they did ruin an area of 1,070 German wartime graves containing civilian victims of bombing raids and soldiers, said Ihlefeldt. They left a fenced-off section of British and Italian war graves untouched, however.

Ihlefeldt accused "so-called animal welfare protectors" of cutting holes in a new fence built around the cemetery to keep out the boar. "After we put up the fence there was complete calm for two months, no wild boar," he said. "But then the holes appeared and this happened. It's crazy to let them into the cemetery because there's plenty for them to eat outside."

Boars have roamed the huge 206 hectare site for years but they have recently increased in number and become an unacceptable nuisance, said Ihlefeldt, who has called in hunters to restore order.

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