Full-Boar Onslaught: Nearly 1000 wild boar complaints in 2018, up 26 percent from 2017

A wild boar piglet near The Peak. Photo by Vicky Wong.
A wild boar piglet near The Peak. Photo by Vicky Wong.

Last year the government received more than 900 wild boar-related complaints and reports, more than they received in the last three years put together.

The Environment Bureau revealed the figures in response to a question raised at the Legislative Council, saying that the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) received 929 reports of wild boar sightings and complaints in 2018, more than ever recorded before, and a 26 percent increase over 2017, on.cc reports. There were also seven recorded instances of boar-related injuries.

In January, the AFCD revealed that there had been 679 boar sightings in Hong Kong in the first 10 months of 2018, meaning there were a whopping 250 reports of wild boar sightings in November and December alone.

The ongoing war on boars has been a source of much controversy of late, with politicians offering unorthodox suggestions for how best to beat back the boar menace. Authorities used to control the wild boar population through a hunting program — which some advocate bringing back — but that initiative was replaced with the pilot “Capture, Contraception and Relocation/Release Programme” last February.

Under the scheme, boars are captured, sterilized, fitted with a GPS tracking device, then relocated or released into the wild. The AFCD said it expects to complete an evaluation of the program by the end of 2019.

The authorities revealed today that, as of last month, the AFCD has surgically sterilized 15 wild boars, and administered contraceptive vaccines to 55. They’ve also relocated 111 wild boars to remote areas within the territory.

They added that they’ve increased the number of employees on the pilot scheme from six to 14, and have also increased its funding from HK$3.8 million (about US$484,000) to HK$6.4 million (about US$815,000) for this year, a 64 percent increase.

On.cc reports that AFCD will also be working with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and the Environmental Protection Department to boar-proof garbage bins given the animals’ penchant for rifling through rubbish.

However, in the boar war, as in many things, humanity has proven to be its own worst enemy: the increase in human-boar interaction has been largely attributed to the city’s expanding footprint, and people’s unfortunate tendency to give the wild animals food.

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