It's become one of the biggest talking points around Utica this week: a wild boar on the loose. Utica Police had to shoot and kill one wild boar on Wednesday but they think another may still be lingering in the area. Our Andrew Sorensen tells us why police and the DEC are so confused about the encounter, and what they say you should do if you see one.
UTICA, N.Y. -- Like a lot of people in Utica this week, the people at Napoli's Bakery have heard a lot about the city's latest guests.
"Wow, that's worse than having a bear in town, you know?," noted Napoli's customer Gabriel Creo.
Owner Jerry Zenzillo said, "I guess if we see it, we see it. We'll just try to turn the other direction, call the UPD and let them handle it. That's their job, they shot the first one, hopefully they'll catch the second one."
They are talking about a mysterious wild boar that wandered into East Utica on Bleecker Street on Wednesday. Nobody is quite sure where he came from.
"It was just walking down the road and then on the side of the road, pretty peculiar," explained Utica Police Sergeant Steve Hauck.
Hauck said they had to put the boar down, but they've heard reports of another boar still out there. The internet has naturally caught on, with one picture getting hundreds of 'likes' on Facebook.
The Utica Boar has even started tweeting about his adventures and cracking hammy jokes. But, the DEC aren't laughing about the incident.
"Social media certainly can make light of just about anything, it's a serious thing," said DEC
Citizen Participation Specialist Stephen Litwhiler.
The DEC are trying to eradicate non-native boars because the 200-plus pound tusked animals destroy nearly everything.
"We just plain don't want these animals in the wild due to the damage they can do to the natural environment and the potential human safety issues," Litwhiler said.
Some people are worried because both of these boars were spotted right near residential areas. The DEC says you should be cautious and call the police if you see one, but you don't necessarily need to be worried about this becoming the new normal.
"I have not heard of any instance like this any place in the state," Litwhiler said.
In fact, he said this never happens. The DEC says wild boar are common in some areas of New York, but the Mohawk Valley certainly isn't one of them.
They think they may have gotten out of a reserve, but no boars have been reported missing.
The DEC encourages hunters who see wild boar to shoot and kill them, but they don't recommend people go looking for the boar because the animals can be dangerous.