Hong Kong authorities lured and killed seven wild boars on Wednesday. The government wants to reduce the number of wild pigs coming into the city by killing them, a new kill policy that has angered animal rights groups.
In front of local media crews, officials threw bread on the street in the district of Aberdeen, and wild boars slowly appeared from the mountains. The animals were then shot at with tranquillizer guns. As they were being shot at, the pigs tried escaping.
Seven wild boars were caught and euthanized, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said in a statement.
Besides skyscrapers, Hong Kong also has subtropical mountains and parkland where wild boars, also known as Eurasian wild pigs or wild pigs, live. Conflicts between humans and pigs are increasing.
The decision to kill them came after a wild boar and a police officer had an encounter. The pig allegedly bit the police officer’s leg. The animal then somehow fell off the edge of a carpark, plunging about 10m (33 feet) to his death.
Hong Kong’s policy had been to capture the animals, then sterilize and relocate them to remote, unpopulated areas. The city is home to about 3,000 wild boars, according to government data.
The shift in policy has sparked criticism from animal rights groups. Roni Wong, a spokesman for the Hong Kong Wild Boar Concern Group, told reporters the boar problem was caused by the government, which had failed to allocate resources to deal with the animals peacefully.
Wong was there when officials shot the animals on Wednesday. He tried to stop the shooting but was taken away by the police.
“They were in the mountains, but were lured by food to the road, then trapped and shot on the spot. It’s heartbreaking to see,” YuYu Healing, who helps humans with their pets, wrote on Facebook.
“Wild boars are harmless. They don’t attack humans unless being provoked. We are encroaching their habitat and they are not to be blamed for co-existing with humans,” she added.
Hong Kong’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said it opposed any lethal measure to manage the city’s boar population.
“In our imagination, the city is not only Causeway Bay and Mong Kok, but it also includes the countryside. Therefore, the way of coexistence is that wild boars mainly feed and survive in the countryside,” Hong Kong Wild Boar Concern Group wrote in a Facebook post about their vision of human-wild boar coexistence.
“Occasionally, there are several naughty children who are lost in the city’s stone forests. Don’t feed them or be afraid. When they can’t find food, they feel the downtown is boring, they will naturally return to their homes,” it added.
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