Japan’s Wild Boar Problem

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    A Japanese TV news report about dangerous wild boar entering cities and towns:

    Apparently it is happening all over Japan. There have been reports of boars coming down from the mountains and forests and attacking people in residential neighborhoods. Recently, attacks have occurred in Kobe city and Hiroshima prefecture.

    The boars also cause a lot of damage to farms. They chew or claw their way through protective nets and eat all the crops. They are not afraid of inflatable tigers.

    Some areas have organized hunts to keep the boar population under control. About five and a half minutes into the video clip, we can observe a group of Japanese hunters venturing into the woods. Hunting dogs are used to drive the boar towards a human hunter, who blasts it with his rifle. The farmers in that area now have one less wild boar to worry about.

    The program visits an agricultural research center to learn why regular hunts have not caused a big drop in reports of boar-related damage to crops. They are told that limitations on the natural food supply meant that weak boars used to starve during winter. Now, thanks to humans, the boars can feast on crops or garbage in winter. Boars do not starve to death, so the population keeps increasing.

    In Kobe, the problem isn’t leftover crops or garbage. People are actually feeding the boars. Many of the animals no longer run at the sight of humans. They grow bolder and bolder, venturing into residential areas. This increases the likelihood of attacks on humans.

    In January, an elderly Kobe woman was trying to give food to a boar. The boar attacked her and bit off one of her fingers. Apparently it was a case of a boar literally biting the hand that fed it.

    Nine years ago, the Kobe city government passed an ordinance that bans the feeding of wild boars. It doesn’t look like much is being done to enforce it. When filming Kobe’s boars, the TV camera crew saw areas where food had been left for the animals. They even caught two women in the act of giving bread crusts to the boars. The first woman fled before they could chase her down. The second woman admits she is breaking the rule, but doesn’t seem to care.

    People might be giving food to the wild boars because they don’t want to see the animals starve. This kind of behavior only makes the situation worse. If the animals know that they can easily get food from humans, they will never go back to their natural habitats.

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