Wildlife officers have shot and killed seven adult javelinas blamed for “extremely aggressive” behavior toward people in a Tucson neighborhood.
Three “sub-adult” javelinas were left unharmed — the only survivors of a herd that had numbered 10 in the neighborhood southeast of Wilmot Road and Speedway.
“It’s done. We ceased operations at about 6 p.m. (Tuesday) after euthanizing the seven adult javelinas,” said Mark Hart, spokesman for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “They were found in proximity to where a javelina attack on a woman occurred last week.”
Hart said the three juvenile animals were left alive “because we knew the sub-adults were not involved in the attack.”
Federal wildlife officers, with technical assistance from the Game and Fish Department, took about two hours — from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday — to locate and shoot the javelinas with rifles, Hart said.
“The carcasses are being donated to the University of Arizona for use in necropsies by students,” he said.
Wildlife officials decided to kill the javelinas after the attack on the woman and reports from other neighborhood residents of being chased by javelinas and having to fight them off.
“It’s very unfortunate it came to this,” Hart said. “It’s really sad when this sort of thing has to be done.”
He disagreed with claims by some Tucsonans — including those who commented on a Wednesday story about the javelinas in the Arizona Daily Star — that the animals should have been relocated rather than shot to death.
“Euthanization is actually more humane than being eaten by a mountain lion or starving after being relocated,” Hart said. “Being euthanized by an expert marksman is a sure and quick death. Starvation is a long, painful ordeal.”
Relocation might also have led to further dangerous encounters with people, Hart said.
“This was first and foremost motivated by public safety,” he said. “If we moved these javelina and they came into contact with humans again, we could have had another bad outcome.”