Postcard from... Berlin



Germany’s main motoring organisation, the ADAC, has some daunting advice on how to cope with an imminent collision with a wild boar. It insists that it is far safer to crash headlong into the animal than attempt to avoid it. Swerving out of the way, the organisation cautions, risks the possibility of hitting an oncoming vehicle or crashing into a ditch.

That said, the ADAC’s video of a car running into a boar weighing some 180 kilos, is spectacular. At 50mph, the front of the car disintegrates as the boar transforms itself into instant “Paté du Sanglier”. The ADAC insists, however, that thanks to air bags, the car’s passengers are likely to emerge unhurt. Such advice is being heeded at the moment, because of a big rise in the number of road accidents involving wild animals.

Over the past 12 months 20 people were killed and another 3,000 injured in animal-related collisions which caused €500m worth of damage. The biggest increase was in accidents involving wild boars. Farmers and hunters say they are hardly able to stem the rise in the boar population, while motoring organisations say the animals are becoming fearless of traffic.

However a solution may be in sight. In Germany’s northernmost state of Schleswig –Holstein hunters, motorists and biologists have been testing the use of blue reflectors and special fences containing scents designed to keep animals off the roads. They claim that, since their introduction, the number of animal-related road accidents has dropped by 80 per cent.