Hong Kong wild boars lured to their deaths after police attack

·2-min read
Best known for its densely packed skyscrapers, Hong Kong also boasts large tracts of subtropical mountains and parkland that host a thriving number of Eurasian wild pigs (AFP/Anthony WALLACE)

Hong Kong has begun culling wild boars following an attack on a police officer, with seven animals killed after they were lured onto the street by wildlife officials, sparking anger from conservationists on Thursday.

Best known for its densely packed skyscrapers, Hong Kong also boasts large tracts of subtropical mountains and parkland that host a thriving number of Eurasian wild pigs.

And increasingly humans and pigs are meeting face to snout.

Last week, officials announced a new policy to capture and kill boars that appeared in urban areas, three days after a police officer was gored in the leg.

Conservation groups were angered by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department's (AFCD) decision to switch to a kill policy, and the first culling operation on Wednesday night sparked further controversy.

In front of local media crews, officials closed off a road in the district of Aberdeen and scattered breadcrumbs on the ground.

A group of boars soon appeared and were shot with tranquilizer darts before being dispatched with lethal injections.

Roni Wong of the Hong Kong Wild Boar Concern Group tried to break through the police cordon but was stopped.

"We agree with the government on one thing, that people should not feed wild animals," Wong said. "But we should not put liability on the animals."

Hong Kong's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said it "severely opposed" the AFCD operation and "any lethal measure to manage" the city's boar population.

Hong Kong used to allow a small number of hunters to shoot boars. But in 2017 it switched to a capture, neuter and relocate policy.

The AFCD says that policy has failed, with boar populations soaring to somewhere between 1,800 and 3,300 animals.

A plethora of bizarre boar encounters has filled local media pages in recent years.

The plucky porcines have been filmed running alongside vehicles on roads, jogging down beaches filled with sunbathers, sniffing the tarmac at the city's international airport -- and even falling through the ceiling of a children's clothing store.

Officials say 47 attacks have been recorded in the last decade and that their culling operations will target areas where boars have become accustomed to seeking food from humans or making forays into urban areas.

More than 70,000 people have signed an online petition by 13 animal rights groups urging the authorities to withdraw the new kill policy.

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