- Hong Kong has started capturing and killing wild boars a week after one bit a police officer.
- The city is home to approximately 3,000 wild boars, and authorities say the animals threaten public safety.
- Animal rights activists have criticized the culling operation.
Hong Kong authorities captured and killed seven wild boars on Wednesday as part of a campaign to remove the animals from public areas, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said in a statement.
The department said it had used dart guns with anesthetic to capture the animals and then killed them with a medicine injection.
The city is home to approximately 3,000 wild boars, according to government data, and authorities say the animals are roaming the streets, posing an increasing threat to public safety.
The culling operation comes a week after a wild boar knocked down a police officer and bit his leg before falling 33 feet to its death from a residential car park.
The department asked the public to stop feeding the wild boars, causing them to lose their fear of humans and gather in urban areas.
Last week Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said penalties would be increased for those who feed the animals.
“I understand that a lot of Hong Kong people love the wetlands and nature. However, we also need to protect public safety,” Lam said at a news conference, according to AP.
She added that in recent years there had been about 30 cases of wild boars attacking humans.
“As a responsible government, we need to take action,” she said.
Hong Kong’s policy has previously been to capture and sterilize wild boars and relocate them to remote locations in the countryside.
However, the AFCD statement said the strategy was no longer effective in controlling “the wild pig nuisance.”
Animal rights groups have criticized the decision to start killing the animals.
Roni Wong, a Hong Kong Wild Boar Concern Group spokesperson, blamed the government for the boar problem. It had failed to allocate enough resources to deal with the animals peacefully.
“Now the animals have to pay for the cost,” Wong told Reuters.