중앙데일리

Villagers up in arms as wild boar invade

Oct 26,2009
The quiet night of Oct. 19 turned to terror with locals’ screams as a group of nine wild and hungry boar slipped into an apartment complex in a mountainous region of Gumi, North Gyeongsang.

Things calmed down after eight of the boar scampered back up the mountain, while officials of the local 119 emergency center captured the sole holdout.

It was not an isolated incident. With an increasing number of wild boar coming out at night to scrounge for food, they have become a nightmare for ranchers and farmers because they often damage large areas of crops in their quest.

Some pigs can be downright nasty.

While cutting grass on Oct. 15, a 76-year-old farmer surnamed Choi in Hwasun County, South Jeolla, sustained multiple bruises on his legs after being attacked by an uppity two-meter-long, 250-kilogram boar.

On Sept. 19, Seoul’s Jongno police had little option but to gun down a wild boar after residents reported the swine was butting moving cars and otherwise wreaking havoc.

According to Ministry of Environment statistics, the ministry estimated wild boar destroyed at least billions of won worth of crops last year alone.

“My corn, sweet potato and bean crops were destroyed by wild boar several times,” said a 68-year-old farmer surnamed Yu in Danyang County, North Chungcheong. “They ate sprouts or uprooted crops and now I have nothing to harvest this fall.”

In the Oct. 12 Environment Ministry parliamentary audit, ruling Grand National Party Rep. Kang Sung-chun said there are over three wild boar per square kilometer - far more than the safe level of one pig per kilometer.

Experts estimate the wild boar population is some 170,000 across the country. As their numbers increase, so does their bravery. They search for food in villages because there’s not enough to eat in the mountains.

Kim Jong-taek, head of the Gangwon Wildlife Medical Rescue Center said natural predators of boar such as tigers and wolves no longer live in mountainous regions, allowing the species to flourish.

Kim said wild boar are very prolific animals, giving birth to as many as 10 piglets per litter. “Now the chances of wild boar piglets getting killed is diminished drastically with disappearance of their predators,” Kim said.

Some others point out humans also share blame for the situation. They said humans’ desire to develop land has destroyed the boar habitat which forces them to search for food in villages.

Local governments have classified wild boar as an at-risk animal group and have begun capturing them with the cooperation of police and professional hunters.

To prevent wild boar from hurting people and damaging crops, the Rural Development Administration has developed a device that repels swine. It plans to distribute them to farmers.


By Kang Kap-saeng, Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]



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