ROME (REUTERS) - A 77-year-old Italian man was killed by a group of wild boars on Saturday as he tried to defend his dogs from the charging animals near his home in Sicily, local police reported.
Salvatore Rinaudo was walking his dogs in the countryside outside the town of Cefalu, near the Sicilian capital of Palermo, when he was attacked and bitten to death despite his wife's attempt to save him, police said.
She was also injured in the attack by the wild animals, which can weigh up to 150kg.
The mayor of Cefalu said he had repeatedly warned of the dangers of the local boar population but his calls for a cull had been rejected by regional authorities.
Italian agriculture lobby Coldiretti described the uncontrolled spread of wild boars that destroy harvests, kill farm animals, cause road accidents and increasingly put human lives at risk as a "national emergency".
"It's no longer just a question of claiming for damages, it has become a question of safety for people who live in the country," Coldiretti said in a statement.