Curbing damage by wild boarsWild boars are turning into a major nuisance. They cause damage to fields and crops and even threaten the lives of people. A wild boar suddenly appeared on the traffic-heavy Olympic Expressway in Seoul in broad daylight and was hit by a car. Fortunately, the collision did not result in any casualties, but it could have led to a deadly traffic accident. Based on its wet fur, the boar was suspected to have crossed the Han River after coming down from Mount Acha in northeastern Seoul. We may have to put up “Beware Wild Boar” signboards on roads expected to be overrun with animals.
Farm damage from wild animals has been on the increase. According to the Ministry of Environment, cost of damages from wild animals surged to 13.2 billion won ($11.7 million) last year from 12.7 billion won in 2009. Among them, wild boars are the biggest headache, accounting for 6.3 billion won worth of damage. As a result of sudden encounters with wild boars, people are injured or even die. In Changwon, South Gyeongsang, a hunter died after being bitten by a wild boar last August. In another case, a driver was killed while trying to evade a boar on a road in Eumseong, North Chungcheong.
Wild boars frequently appear, and their numbers have drastically increased. Wild boars can breed starting at two years of age, bearing five to eight piglets at a time. To make matters worse, they have no predators that can contain their breeding.
A major culprit in the remarkable increase of wild boars in Korea is urban sprawl. Due to accelerated development across the country, the boars’ habitat has become limited, and the animals naturally come down to populated areas in search of food.
The authorities should come up with preventive measures to lessen potential damage to farms and people. Since last year, the environment ministry has authorized a group of licensed hunters to kill up to six wild boars each from the past limit of three. But that is not enough. According to a survey by the National Institute for Biological Resources, there are 3.7 to 4.6 boars per 100 hectares.
Therefore, the authorities must increase the number of professional hunters to curb the dramatic increase of wild boars, including extension of the hunting period in particularly dangerous areas. They must also figure out how to provide a better habitat in the wilderness for boars so that they will not have to invade residential areas in search of food.