Councillor suggests marooning wild boars on remote islands, is told that boars can swim

A district councillor suggested yesterday that Hong Kong’s wild boar problem could be solved by exiling the animals, Napoleon-like, to remote islands, though the proposal was swiftly faulted for ignoring one crucial fact about the porcine pests: they can swim.

Wong Kwok-hing, from the pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions, made the suggestion yesterday during an Eastern District Council meeting on wild boars, HK01 reports.

His comments came after the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) revealed last week that 2018 is shaping up to be the year with the most wild boar sightings and complaints — 679 as of October — since the government began tracking them in 2013.

Wong criticized the government’s ongoing pilot scheme to deal with the pigs — wherein wild boars are captured, sterilized, fitted with a tracking device, then relocated or released — saying that even if a boar has been sterilized and relocated, they can still be a nuisance to Hongkongers in urban areas.

He argued that moving the boars to Hong Kong’s numerous uninhabited islands would be a better solution than employing hunting teams, which were replaced by the current pilot scheme, or introducing natural predators, as was suggested by one lawmaker last week.

“If you relocate a wild boar to a mountainous area, they will make their way to a country park and continue causing a nuisance to people,” Wong said. “Therefore, I think the solution would be to put them on an island that’s uninhabited, create wild boar habitats there, send the boars there, regularly send them food and handle them there.”

However, also present at yesterday’s meeting was Cheung Ka-shing, a senior wetland and fauna conservation officer from the AFCD, who noted that there was just one problem with Wong’s suggestion. “Wild boars are very good swimmers,” he said.

Cheung explained to the district councillors that not only have boars been spotted swimming from island to island in the past, it’s even been said “that fishermen see a lot of wild boars when they’re out at sea fishing”.

“If wild boars don’t have enough food to eat, they’ll just swim to the nearest land mass to look for food,” he added.

Meanwhile, Roni Wong, the head of the Wild Boar Concern Group, told HK01 that the district councillor’s comments ignored that the boar problem is, in many ways, a people problem, with the issue exacerbated by litter and people feeding the pigs.

Of course, if Councillor Wong had followed Coconuts HK, he would have known as far back as March that wild boars can swim — as evidenced by this article we did about a boar taking a dip in Victoria Harbour. But hopefully this setback doesn’t discourage him entirely from trying to solve the boar problem. After all, even a blind pig finds an acorn every once in a while.

 

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