Officials seek to reduce wild boar population

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Officials seek to reduce wild boar population

The Ministry of Environment and the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced Monday the capture of 50 wild boars near Mount Bukhan National Park, in order to prevent more of them from entering downtown Seoul.

The captured boars will be sent to the National Institute of Environmental Research for study. The Korea National Park Service and the Wild Life Management Association will also be participating in the project.

For the past three years, 152 boar appearances on average were annually reported, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Last year, there were 155 sightings, 137 in places near Mount Bukhan National Park.

Due to the increasing anxiety of nearby residents, the Seoul Metropolitan Government, as a pre-emptive measure, decided to capture the boars alive, despite the recent absence of reports of their appearance.

There are about 120 boars inhabiting in Mount Bukhan National Park, according to the Korea National Park Service. The population density of the boars is 2.1 boars per square kilometer (247 acres).

By capturing 50 boars, the Ministry of Environment hopes to reduce the total number in Mount Bukhan to 70.

“There’s no plan to use firearms inside the National Park,” said the Ministry of Environment, responding to potential worries concerning capture methods. “Only cages and nets will be installed near the boundaries of the National Park to capture these boars, which may otherwise wander into downtown areas.”

To block the boars from entering residential areas, a 660-meter metal fence will be installed along the upper part of Gugi Tunnel, in central Seoul. The tunnel is the major route the boars use to enter the downtown area.

Side roads in the National Park will also be closed to stop park visitors from disrupting the natural habitats of the boars. Public announcements advising the visitors not to collect wild fruits, a major food resource of the boars, will be reinforced as well.

“The meaning of the project lies in creating an environment in which people and wild animals can co-exist, even in a place where there is tension between the two,” said Lee Min-ho, director of the Ministry of Environment’s Nature Conservation Bureau. “I also need citizens to refrain from entering the National Park by using side roads instead of the designated routes, and to protect wild fruits, which are food resources of the boars.”

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