Boar hunting to begin as ASF spreads

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Boar hunting to begin as ASF spreads

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After four wild boars were found to be infected with African Swine Fever (ASF) over the weekend, the government on Sunday said it has rolled out an emergency measure to cull all wild boars in areas where the virus has been detected.

A total of five infected wild boars have now been found since the ASF outbreak began in mid-September in Paju, Gyeonggi.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of National Defense jointly announced Sunday that they have rolled out the emergency measures after four new infected wild boars were discovered on Saturday and Sunday in the demilitarized zones of Cheorwon County in Gangwon and Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi.

The government said it will take differentiated preventive measures based on the level of danger in each region. Areas are categorized as; immediate risk of infection, outbreak, buffer, alert and blockade.

Parts of Cheorwon and Yeoncheon have been designated as areas with an immediate risk of infection. Anywhere within five square kilometers (1.93 square miles) of the border within those areas is classified as an outbreak area.

The government will start killing wild boars once measures to prevent movement have been implemented. The government plans to install barbed wire fences around the areas at immediate risk of infection to stop wild boars scared by hunters from fleeing into other parts of the country.

Five areas that have had AFS cases reported have been designated as outbreak areas. Another five areas that border the outbreak areas have been designated as buffer areas.

To minimize the movement of wild boars in those locations, the government banned hunting with guns, and will instead expand the installment of poaching traps until the end of October.

Seven counties and districts have been named alert areas. The government plans to kill all boars found in those areas starting today. All wild boars spotted in blockade areas, which are cover two kilometers bordering alert areas, will also be killed.

The government plans to offer 100,000 won ($89) per boar in reward to hunters.

Disinfection of farms will also be boosted and disinfection booths installed at entrances to the demilitarized zone by Wednesday.

The outbreak has led to rising pork prices.

Average retail pork price per 100 grams in Korea retreated 75 won on Friday compared to the previous day to 1,930 won, according to the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation on Sunday. It was the first time the price of refrigerated Korean pork fell below 2,000 won since the ASF outbreak.

Pork prices on Sept. 30 shot up to 2,186 won per 100 grams due to the fear of ASF spreading.

The wholesale pork price, however, has retreated due to reduced demand and increased supply from farmers who butchered their pigs early for fear of the virus spreading. The average price per kilo stood at 3,041 won as of Friday, far lower than the 4,403 won for the same weight on Sept. 16, a day before the ASF outbreak.

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]

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