Here, we provide unique photo documentation and observational evidence of rescue behaviour described for the first time in wild boar. Rescue behaviour represents an extreme form of prosocial behaviour that has so far only been demonstrated in a few species. It refers to a situation when one individual acts to help another individual that finds itself in a dangerous or stressful situation and it is considered by some authors as a complex form of empathy. We documented a case in which an adult female wild boar manipulated wooden logs securing the door mechanism of a cage trap and released two entrapped young wild boars. The whole rescue was fast and particular behaviours were complex and precisely targeted, suggesting profound prosocial tendencies and exceptional problem-solving capacities in wild boar. The rescue behaviour might have been motivated by empathy because the rescuer female exhibited piloerection, a sign of distress, indicating an empathetic emotional state matching or understanding the victims. We discuss this rescue behaviour in the light of possible underlying motivators, including empathy, learning and social facilitation.
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