We are animal advocates from Hong Kong and would like to share the story about our fight for wild boars. At the end of the story, please sign our petition to disband the hunting team in Hong Kong and protect our wild boars!
Wild boars in the world
As someone interested in animal protection, you may be aware that compared to many other animals, wild boars have far fewer protections, even in many developed countries. In most parts of Europe and the United States, wild boars are considered a game species, so they are baited and hunted for entertainment and their meat. They are also subject to culling programs, which claim over 100,000 wild boar lives in a single hunting season on average. In biased propaganda splashed over different media platforms, wild boars are depicted as monsters, roaming around damaging the environment and attacking humans who cross their path. The mainstream message about wild boars says that since they have few predators, their populations can only be managed by way of killing.
Wild boars in Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, before 2017, citizen-led hunting teams were called to action whenever sightings of wild boar in the town areas were reported or nuisance complaints about the animals were lodged. Our organization, the Hong Kong Wild Boar Concern Group, set up in 2013 and lobbied to have hunting activities halted. Thanks to this outcry, the hunting teams have remained dormant from 2017 until now. While the city grew and urbanization stretched further out, natural habitat for wild boars near Hong Kong diminished. This led to more wild boars coming out into busy urban areas to forage for food. Pro-hunting citizens came to the conclusion that the wild boar population has ballooned, and that culling should be resumed to keep their numbers under control.
Stance of the general public
Since its inception in 2013, Hong Kong Wild Boar Concern Group has been tirelessly working on educating the public about wild boars themselves and about human-wild boar conflict, with the aim of nurturing harmony between humans and animals. We hold seminars, interviews and street booths to take queries and disseminate information about wild boars. A majority of people in Hong Kong now understand wild boars as their neighbors and treat them with respect.
Culling is confirmed to be ineffective as a measure to control wild boar populations, as evidenced by various scientific studies. In the September 2014 issue of the European Food Safety Authority (ESFA) Journal, researchers commented that even while wild boar culling programs might cause a drastic reduction in populations in the same year, “Recovery of the population by up to 77% in the year after has been reported.” Culling programs are not a sustainable, lasting solution to human-boar conflict, and they cause pain and suffering to the boars themselves.
In 2017 we successfully thwarted all hunting activities. Taking this opportunity, we renewed our longstanding call for the government to adopt humane alternatives in their management of wild boars. A birth control program formally kicked off in February 2018, and so far around 60 wild boars have been given a contraceptive injection, with a tracker attached to them for continuous monitoring. A thorough review of this program is planned at the end of 2019.
Current campaign against hunting
We have decided that is high time we sent away the hunting teams for good! Please sign our petition (scroll down for English) to support our fight to disband the hunting teams and protect our wild boar neighbors. Hong Kong has never been a major leader in the animal rights movement, but if we succeed, we would be able to provide tons of encouragement for other wild boar advocates in the rest of the world to fight on. Our success will also provide guidance for other governments to review their policies in light of our pioneering treatment of wild boars.
Featured image: A Hong Kong wild boar. Image via Hong Kong Wild Boar Concern Group Facebook page.