In spite of angry protests from some members of the public, who charged the government with cruelty, officials are standing their ground. In one high profile action, seven boars were lured to a public street with bread crumbs and captured to be killed later by injection.
Across the border in mainland China, wild boars will be hunted down after expected adoption of a proposal by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration to remove them from the list of protected wild animals. Across the country, 117 hunting teams have been set up, ready to move on the pigs, according to the proposed plan released in early December. Previously, the boars were included in the roster of 1,789 protected land mammals that are considered to be beneficial to ecology, science and society.
The policy changes could signal the end of two of the last official refuges of feral hogs, as governments around the world cope with their intrusion into the human environment with rising alarm. Wild swine have become an issue in cities all over, from Barcelona to Brisbane, from Haifa to Houston.
Concern for infectious diseases
For scientists, the crackdown on wild boars is a policy that should have been implemented a long time ago.
Since 2003, infectious respiratory virus caused pandemics such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and Covid-19 have wreaked havoc on human society. Both the SARS and MERS viruses originated from bats, according to scientists who have traced their origins. Researchers have shown that bats are warm-blooded mammals with a genome very similar to that of humans. Bats living in the wild carry a large number of pathogens that can be transmitted to humans after mutation.
Genetically, wild boars are more similar to humans than bats. They are also warm-blooded mammals and have a comparable physiology. If wild boars breed in large numbers and frequently enter the human living environment, the pathogens in them could pose a potential major threat to human health.