Chataigne : the not so wild boar

In response to CAMERA LUCIDA Photo Challenge : Out of place

Last May, JM told me that he had seen a wild boar running behind cars on the road, which was odd for a wild boar. While walking a day later I spotted a boar myself. I hurried home, to tell JM. Convinced it could be one and the same, we jumped into the car, and went in search of him. Of course he was no longer where I had seen him. We drove around, and finally I pulled into a field. To our great joy, he came running right up to us, and let us caress him. He certainly was not wild, and needed help. So we walked him home across the field, and quickly gave him water, and dog biscuits. It was dark by now, and we left him in the garden, not knowing if he would be still here in the morning, or gone.

Apparently, he slept alongside the grass tractor, and was very happy to see us again. That was the beginning of a three day friendship. He ate dog biscuits by the kitchen door, chased Argan, our dog, around the garden, and nuzzled us with his snout. He slept with the tractor at night, and under the canopy of an elder bush at day. JM loved his smell, like chestnuts in the forest, so he named him Châtaigne.

Unfortunately for Châtaigne, it is illegal to keep a wild animal at home, so we discreetly started searching for a safe home for him. The police would have taken him to slaughter immediately. Even though we found a very important person willing to help, in the end she could not.

On the fourth day, JM was driving back and fore to a neighbour, and Châtaigne wanted to play chasing cars again. Despite JM taking care to ensure he did not leave the garden, suddenly Châtaigne was gone, and that was the last time we saw him. Sadly we heard a week later that he had wandered into someones garden, just a mile or two away, and this time the police were informed.

There could not have been another way out for him. Somebody, most likely a hunter, had shot his mother, discovered she had an infant, and decided to take him home, and raised him. It was illegal to domesticate a wild boar, yet because he had been, he was no longer able to live in the wild. It was a sad end to the most beautiful, and unusual friendship I will likely ever have.

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