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Wild boar horror in small village - man comes off second-best against beast

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 Mar 2023, 8:59am
Steve Easton was knocked over by a wild boar. Photo / 123RF
Steve Easton was knocked over by a wild boar. Photo / 123RF

Wild boar horror in small village - man comes off second-best against beast

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 Mar 2023, 8:59am

A quiet evening on the deck shooting the breeze and listening to music ended with a midnight dash for medical help and fears for the safety of children in a remote Central Otago village.

Steve Easton and his mate Mike Mitchell, both of Oamaru, were on the deck of Easton’s St Bathans holiday cottage on Tuesday night when they heard a noise in the garden.

Looking down, they saw a sow with six piglets. Easton went to chase them off and close the gate. What he did not see was the boar with them.

He chased the little family across the road and was about 30m from his cottage when he heard a noise in the gravel nearby.

“[The boar] was just flying. He hit me head-on.”

Easton was knocked over a bank and was unconscious for nearly 30 minutes. When he came to he knew he was injured.

“I thought ‘things are not too good’,” he said.

His face was cut and bruised, and it looked like the boar’s tusks had just missed his eye. Worst of all was his dislocated shoulder.

“I’m a tough old bugger but it was incredibly sore.”

The marks on Steve Easton’s face show how close the a wild boar’s tusk came to his eye when it attacked him outside his St Bathans holiday home on Tuesday evening. Photo / Anna Easton

The marks on Steve Easton’s face show how close the a wild boar’s tusk came to his eye when it attacked him outside his St Bathans holiday home on Tuesday evening. Photo / Anna Easton

Later that night the pain was so bad Easton decided they had to leave immediately for Oamaru.

They made it as far as Ranfurly before the pain became too much to bear.

They stopped at the Maniototo Hospital where his dislocated shoulder was treated.

St Bathans Area Community Association secretary Alison Fitzgerald said the wild pig problem was discussed at the group’s meeting last month.

One of Easton’s neighbours reported finding 10 piglets near his property.

Most of the land surrounding the village was managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) or part of large privately owned farming stations, she said.

DOC was the largest land owner around St Bathans and owned most of the historic buildings.

At the last association meeting there was frustration expressed that DOC seldom responded to emails, she said.

The association planned to ask DOC for help with the pig problem as residents could not manage it.

DOC Central Otago operations manager Nicola Holmes said the organisation was aware of reports of a person being attacked by a wild pig in St Bathans.

She said DOC undertook wild animal control, including pig control, in areas of public conservation land (PCL) near St Bathans. However, the area directly around the St Bathans village had many different landowners, and comparatively small amounts of PCL, meaning a community approach was needed.

DOC was keen to see how it could offer support, she said.

DOC advised people not to approach wild pigs as they could be dangerous.

Easton said he was worried about the safety of children in the village if they disturbed pigs while playing.

“I couldn’t get over how cute these little fellas were.”

A child could be entranced by the little pigs and be at risk from the adult ones, he said.

- Julie Asher, Otago Daily Times

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