OKCHEON, June 14 (Korea Bizwire) – Okcheon County in North Chungcheong Province is facing criticism from animal experts over its decision to feed wild boars as part of its fight against the wild animals, shortly after the local government announced a mild level of success in recent weeks.
Earlier this week, reports emerged that Okcheon County, an area that has dealt with attacks from wild animals targeting property and residents for years, had finally seen an improvement in curbing the threats facing the community, after putting out 200 kilograms of sweet potatoes and carrots in an area where the wild animals make frequent appearances.
However, animal experts say the local government needs to approach the issue with discretion, as feeding wild boars could increase the risk posed to the community in the long run, as the taste of sweet potatoes and carrots could grow on the wild animals, leading them to target farms with these and other vegetables.
“Wild boars tend to remember the location of tasty food. Once they taste sweet potatoes or carrots, it could subject farms that grow sweet potatoes and carrots to an increased level of risk. The environment and farm production in the surrounding areas must be taken into consideration in approaching the issue,” said Han Sang-hoon, a researcher at the National Institute of Biological Resources.
Given the fact that wild boars can eat up to 20 to 30 percent of their body weight in food, leaving a sufficient amount of food out in the field could backfire and actually help the animals multiply, trapping the community in a vicious circle.
Wild boars in nutritional deficiency can give birth to four to five babies at a time, but if well-fed, they are capable of giving birth to up to 10.
An official from the Ministry of Environment (MOE) addressed the growing criticism against Okcheon County’s controversial anti-wild boar measure, saying, “Okcheon Country deserves credit for its efforts to coexist with wild boars, but professional research and judgment is recommended when dealing with wildlife.”
The growing number of wild boars in recent years is presenting South Korea with yet another ecological challenge, with the MOE introducing comprehensive anti-wild boar measures last year in a bid to curb their numbers.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)