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Hunters take aim at wild boars as numbers soar

By HUANG ZHILING in Chengdu and GUO KAI in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2021-11-30 09:24

When a wild boar entered a residential building earlier this month in downtown Nanjing, Jiangsu province, it probably wasn't looking for a flat.

Similarly, when a boar ran onto a university campus in Wuhan, Hubei province, in April, it probably wasn't seeking an education.

Wild boars have been reported destroying crops, rooting up farmland, entering the homes of farmers and generally being a nuisance across the country in recent years.

Lately, however, they have been heading into urban areas and causing trouble.

Wild boars reproduce prolifically and have a high survival rate, "especially in southern China where the weather is warm and food is abundant", said Li Chunwang, from the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Zoology.

They also have fewer natural enemies-hungry predators such as tigers and leopards-so you can pretty much forget about controlling them through biological means.

Making matters worse, the pugnacious pigs are combative, posing dangers to humans. As a result, many places have turned to hunting to reduce the numbers.

The population of wild boars exploded as wild animal habitats improved measurably after China made a priority of protecting forests and creating nature reserves, the National Forestry and Grassland Administration said in an online response to a netizen.

It said the population density of wild boars in hilly areas in southern China should be kept at two per square kilometer. In the north, it's only one.

Tongjiang county in Sichuan province plans for hunters to kill 750 of the more than 20,000 wild boars in the area this year.

In Anhui province, Jinzhai county has formed a hunting team of 20 farmers to kill boars.

In July, forestry authorities in Shaanxi province shortened the ban on boar hunting from eight months to two-March and April.

It's no cure-all. Hunting might not be highly effective in China, since the number of hunters has dwindled over the years, and few people have firearms licenses.

"The number of hunters has shrunk-not to mention hunting skills," said Liu Bingwan, an associate professor at Northeast Forestry University in Harbin, Heilongjiang province.

To stimulate more interest in hunting boars, authorities have explored reimbursements and subsidies.

The Jinzhai county government purchases wild boar carcasses at 20 yuan ($3.10) per kilogram.

Other methods are being tried. The National Forestry and Grassland Administration has suggested that places with boar trouble set up electric fences.

Hu Huijian, a researcher from the Guangdong Academy of Sciences' Institute of Zoology, said his institute is designing an intelligent warning system that will use infrared cameras to monitor wild boars in real time and automatically inform local authorities and nearby villages when they're found.

The institute is also developing equipment to scare wild boars away. It simulates the sound of wild boars being shot and makes a crying sound.

"When the boars hear the gunshots, they will not visit the place for two to three months," Hu said.

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