Wild boar group opposes new catch-and-kill strategy

An animal welfare group on Monday called on the government to pull a new strategy of catching and killing wild boars that regularly visit busy streets, saying they’d stay away from the city if people stop feeding them.

Roni Wong, a member of the Hong Kong Wild Boar Concern Group, said authorities should have stepped up education and penalty for people who feed the animal, before “hastily” introducing the policy.

“I think the government must increase resources for officers to patrol and persuade people. Of course we don’t want to see people who feed the wild boars being punished just because they are being too kind, but in the short-term, I think it cannot be helped,” he told an RTHK programme.

Wong said instead of killing the animals, the government should be putting in more manpower into a “contraception and relocation” scheme that started in 2017, which he said will also reduce the number of the animal and thus the risk they may pose to people.

But Simon Chan, an assistant director at the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, said the contraception scheme will be suspended because it had not been effective.

“In recent years, the number of incidents of wild boars attacking people has been going up. In the first ten months of 2021, there were 11 cases of wild boars hurting people rather seriously,” he told the same programme.

“Should we wait slowly and see if people would stop feeding them? We hope to take assertive actions to reduce their number and nuisance to protect people,” he said.

He said the government may also consider resuming hunting operations to manage the wild boar population.