Numbers of wild boars on the rise

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Numbers of wild boars on the rise


Left: An unmanned camera caught a wild boar roaming in the foothills of Mount Bukhan, Seoul, around 2 a.m. on June 13. Provided by the Office of Bukhansan National Park, Above: Firefighters catch a wild boar found in August 2012 in Changdeok Palace, Seoul. [JoongAng Photo]

On a barbed-wire fence leading to a popular hiking trail toward Mount Bukhan, near an apartment complex in Hongeun-dong, in northwestern Seoul’s Seodaemun District, a sign reads “Beware of wild boars.”

The complex’s management office posted the sign for the safety of its residents and hikers, which came after it received notification of a wild boar sighting on June 23. The managers quickly made an emergency broadcast to its residents around 8 a.m.

“A wild boar appeared in a nearby region, so be careful,” the announcement said.

It appears the pigs have steadily begun taking over human habitats, from remote agricultural fields to even densely populated areas in Seoul.

The uptick in boar sightings comes on the heels of a nationwide outbreak of avian influenza last winter that prevented officials from capturing wildlife. There is also a lack of effective measures to curb their numbers.

The Korea National Park’s Mount Bukhan management office said yesterday that since February, there have been four recorded wild boar sightings, including in Gugi-dong in Jongno District and Jeongneung-dong in Seongbuk District.

The management office installed traps to capture the animals in three areas around Mount Bukhan, but have so far not caught one this year.

Wild boars are also rampaging sweet potato and bean fields in Paju, and injured two people on June 30 in Yeoncheon County in Gyeonggi.

On June 30, a man and a woman in their 50s were knocked over by a wild boar in sweet potato fields in Baekhak-myeon, Yeoncheon County, Gyeonggi.

The 52-year-old man, surnamed Lee, cracked three of his ribs, while the woman, Seo, 50, received a concussion.

“This is the first time a wild boar appeared in fields near the town and attacked humans,” Seo said. “A measure to eradicate the wild boars is urgent.”

And wild boars are even ravaging crops in agricultural towns.

“In Jeokseong-myeon in Paju, a wild boar dug up and damaged a sweet potato field that was 1,000 square meters by 800 square meters on June 30,” said Yoon Haeng-jung, a 78-year-old farmer. “We installed nets in the area immediately afterward and have requested that the Paju city government capture them.”

Since April, there have been 24 wild boar and eight elk sightings reported, according to the Paju city government. Four boars have been captured, it added.

In late May, the Korea Wildlife Protection Association formed a 24-member team dedicated to tracking down and capturing wild boars in the Paju region. With the increase in their activity, it also extended its nighttime patrols last month through lit areas until 1 a.m.

But because the area is densely forested, capture has not been easy.

“In the aftermath of the bird flu, between Jan. 22 and May 12, the Paju region banned the capture of wildlife.

So recently, the number of wild animals, including wild boars, has increased, and the number of reports of sightings has increased twofold compared to the same period last year.”


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