Hong Kong debates wild boar problem in Year of the Pig

World Today

As Hong Kong celebrates the Year of the Pig, locals have had enough of the wild ones. CGTN’s Joshua Cartwright reports.

Wild boars are an increasingly common sight in Hong Kong.

From roads to parks to housing developments, the pigs both entertain and, on occasion, annoy residents.

But as the city encroaches on their habitat, pig-human confrontations are becoming more frequent, and the animals’ bolder behavior has sparked a debate over what to do with them.

According to Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department, complaints about the boars more than doubled between 2013 and 2017 – from nearly 300 to more than 700.

That prompted the government to start a policy review last year, and at the same time, it halted the practice of selectively hunting the wild pigs.

For now, the government is pursuing a softer strategy of capture and sterilization. It’s also educating the public not to feed the boars – and it’s trying to relocate them to the country.

Many residents and animal rights activists have welcomed the move.

“I don’t mind relocating them,” one resident said. “But we shouldn’t euthanize them. They are living beings.”

But others, including Hong Kong district councillor Jeremy Young, want to put the boars back in the crosshairs.

“I think we need to revisit what we used to do before, which was selectively shoot pigs,” Young said.

Hong Kong’s government said it hopes to complete its policy review by the end of this year. That means the fate of these animals will likely be decided in the Year of the Pig.