Animal welfare groups have been urging the administration to abandon its new capture and kill strategy for wild boars that regularly visit urban areas.
The head of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, Leung Siu-fai, said on Sunday that wild boars in the countryside will be left alone.
“We’re not using the same strategy for all the wild boars everywhere,” Leung told reporters after attending a TVB programme.
“I want to emphasise that the wild pigs in the countryside are part of the natural scenery. We don’t need to and shouldn’t do something to affect their lives.”
Leung said because public education and law enforcement to tackle people feeding the animals won’t see immediate results, the government had to be responsible and change its strategy as problems with the boars worsened.
He said officials are working on proposals to expand “no-feed zones” and increase the penalty for those who give the boars food.
Leung also defended last week’s move to lure boars out of the woods with bread before they were tranquilised and killed, saying officials need to lead the animals to an area where they can be placed under control.
“Tranquilised boars could react differently. They could have little reaction, or they could be running around wildly. So if I don’t use the tranquliser at the controlled site, it would be dangerous to our colleagues and people nearby if the boars ran away.”
Leung said he understood the concerns of those opposed to the killing of wild boars but they need to balance their emotions with rational analysis.