‘Despicable to lure wild pigs with food to kill them’

An animal welfare advocate has criticised the authorities for using bread to lure wild boars in an operation to capture and kill them, but the government said the tactic was adopted to make sure everyone was safe.

Officers from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) on Wednesday night used dart guns to tranquilise seven boars before putting them down in Aberdeen.

But Roni Wong from the Hong Kong Wild Boar Concern Group, who observed the operation, said it was “despicable” for them to have used bread to lure the animals out of the woods.

“Of course, some of them were used to being fed, and they came down because they were not afraid [of people]. But we can’t rule out that many were afraid of people and were quite timid. But if you keep using bread to attract the pigs, you are in a way encouraging them to come into the city,” he told an RTHK programme on Thursday.

Wong said the government should maintain its contraception-and-relocation scheme and step up education for people to stop feeding boars, so the animals stay in their own habitat.

But speaking on the same programme, Simon Chan, assistant director of the AFCD, said the officers were only using food to lead the wild pigs to a spot where they could be put down under controlled conditions.

He said officers had made observations and learned that the animals came down from the hills to search for food every evening.

“I would like to clarify that our operation mainly targeted wild pigs that were very used to being fed and asking people for food. In the operation, we fed them so we could capture them. It would not increase the nuisance they caused or change their habits. They are already used to being fed,” Chan said.

“There were more than twenty officers from the department, and there were many police officers and members of the press as well. The pigs were still not afraid, and have lost their wariness. They went to the streets themselves,” he said.

Chan said the operation was more humane than hunting, as the animals were tranquilised before drugs were administered to put them down.

He also reiterated that only wild pigs that visit the city frequently would be targeted.

He said the contraception-and-relocation scheme had not been effective, noting four of the animals killed had earlier been relocated but had returned to the area.