More boars walking on the wild side

Local | Cissy So 10 Jan 2019

There were over 600 complaints of wild boars - including five cases where people were injured - received by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department in the first 10 months of last year.

Southern District - with 173 complaints - was the worst-affected area, according to Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing's written reply to lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee.

A Pilot Capture and Contraception/Relocation Program (Pilot CCRP) was introduced to handle the immediate nuisance of wild pigs at residential areas after the suspension of hunting operations since 2017 due to opposition by animal concern groups.

Since the launch of the program, an average of three boars were captured in each operation, which was more efficient than the hunts held.

Roni Wong Ho-yin, a committee member of the Hong Kong Wild Boar Concern Group, said the government should continue to invest effort and materials on the program in order to achieve the result of integrating boars and humans. He said the government can also follow in the footsteps of Singapore and the United States, where there are laws for animals, such as specific roads for animal crossings.

The trial of treating wild pigs that cause nuisances with contraceptive vaccine and sterilization surgery was the first of its kind in the world.

As of December 2017, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department rendered contraceptive or sterilization treatments to 54 wild pigs. It is expected to complete the evaluation of the program by the end of this year.

Wild pigs used to appear in the countryside in the New Territories. However, according to the department's surveys, they are now commonly sighted in various districts.

They usually live alone or in small groups, and are widely distributed throughout the city.

The city's geography may also be a factor for sightings of wild boars as they wander into residential areas and use it as their resting place, Wong said.

"The number of complaints doesn't mean that there's an increase in boars. We don't know the criterion of the complaints, where it could just be the appearance of a boar but it didn't disturb citizens," he added.

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