Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
LCQ13: Wild pig hunting

     Following is a question by the Hon Claudia Mo and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, in the Legislative Council today (July 9):


     According to the information of the Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), the two wild pig hunting teams in Hong Kong formed by civilian volunteers (the hunting teams) carried out an operation every three days and shot to death one wild pig in every two operations on the average in the past five years. Members of the hunting teams are issued arms licences by the Hong Kong Police Force and may therefore keep arms and ammunition at home. It was reported that in recent years, there had been blunders concerning the hunting process of the hunting teams and the possession of ammunition by their members. For example, the hunting teams carried out an operation in the presence of nearly 50 onlookers and without cordoning off the restricted area even though the wild pigs posed no immediate threat to the public; they were alleged to have violated the rule that prohibits hunting operations on Saturdays and public holidays; and a member of the hunting teams had eight Remington bullets stolen from his home, etc. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) given that there were just a very few incidents of wild pigs injuring humans in the past several years and that due to the decline of agriculture in Hong Kong, crop damages caused by wild pigs are rare, whether it has examined the necessity of carrying out frequent operations by the hunting teams; of the reasons for the frequent operations; whether the authorities have kept detailed records and reports on each operation;

(2) given the stringent control on the import, possession and use of arms and ammunition under the laws of Hong Kong, why the authorities issued arms licences to members of the civilian hunting teams;

(3) of the improvement measures to be taken by the authorities to address the several blunders made by the hunting teams during their hunting operations; whether they will consider transferring the task of hunting wild pigs to AFCD and/or the Police (for example, the Police will fire dart guns to tranquilise the wild pigs and AFCD staff will take care of the remaining matters) to ensure that the hunting operations are carried out by public officers according to stringent, disciplined and safe procedures;

(4) as I have learned that upon receipt of reports about sighting of wild pigs in the urban area, AFCD will send veterinarians to tranquilise the wild pigs with dart guns and then return them to country parks, whether the authorities will consider using the same method in dealing with wild pigs found near the community, and shooting wild pigs to death only when strictly necessary;

(5) whether any casualties (including those inflicted on members of the hunting teams and members of the public) were caused by the operations of the hunting teams in the past three years; if so, of the details and who were held liable;

(6) as it has been reported that the hunting operations of the hunting teams require prior approval of the relevant divisional police stations and preparation work takes about one week, whether the Police will, in order to ensure public safety, consider making public on their web site, at least 48 hours before the operation, (i) the date, time and location of the operation as well as the names, identification numbers and number of the hunting team members involved, (ii) details of the complaints lodged by the public, (iii) findings of field inspections, and (iv) justifications for carrying out the hunting operation (i.e. the case is referred to the hunting teams for following up upon the confirmation that no feasible guarding measures against the wild pigs are available), and making public the report on the operation (including the hunting process and the method used to dispose of the carcasses) for public inspection;

(7) as there has been controversy about the necessity of the hunting teams shooting the wild pigs to death in several of their operations and for that reason AFCD has also been subjected to much criticism for lack of respect for animals' right to live, whether AFCD will consider formulating more concrete and clearer codes of operation, for example, to stipulate the degree of property damage or personal threat caused to people by wild pigs which warrants approval of hunting operations;

(8) of the number of wild pigs shot to death by the hunting teams in the past five years, and the outcome of a comparison of such number with that of other wild animals shot to death by AFCD in the same period, together with the details of such cases (including the dates and districts of and reasons for the operations, the types of wild animals involved, and the method used to dispose of the carcasses);

(9) as it is stipulated under the guidelines of AFCD that the hunting teams must dispose of the carcasses of wild pigs at the animal carcass collection points under the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), how FEHD handles the carcasses at present, and whether it has formulated guidelines and kept formal records in this respect; if so, of the details; if not, whether it will consider formulating such guidelines and keeping the records; and

(10) whether anyone collected the carcasses of wild pigs from AFCD or FEHD in the past three years; if so, of the collection procedures and details of each case (including the date and quantity of collection and the identity of the collector)?



     Our reply to the Hon Mo's question is as follows:

(1) and (7) Wild pigs are the largest terrestrial mammals in Hong Kong, and adults may weigh up to 150 kg.  Due to lack of natural predators and high reproductive rates, wild pigs grow unchecked.  Adult males have tusks to dig up roots for food or to attack others.  If provoked or assaulted, they may become aggressive and may attack human, thus constituting a threat to human safety.  There were cases in which people were injured by wild pigs.  As they move around, they may cause damage to the environment and crops.  In this connection, in other parts of the world, such as European countries, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and some countries in Southeast Asia, wild pigs are generally categorised as "pests", and their population would be controlled by hunting.  In Hong Kong, wild pigs are not protected wild animals, and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) has controlled their population by the same means.

     Upon receiving complaints from members of the public alleging frequent appearance of wild pigs which has caused damage or posed threat to them, the AFCD will conduct field investigations.  The AFCD staff will recommend preventive measures to the complainants, such as proper management of outdoor garbage, erection of fence or enhanced lighting, etc. If it is confirmed that the occurrence of wild pigs has caused perpetual damage or threat, and the preventive measures are not effective, the AFCD will inform the wild pig hunting teams to arrange hunting operations so as to reduce the threats posed on human safety and property.

     Over the past five years, the AFCD has received more than 1 500 complaints against wild pig nuisance, i.e. an average of about six cases per week.  Among them, only about 20 per cent of cases have been referred to the hunting teams for hunting operations.  After each wild pig hunting operation, regardless of whether it is successful or not, the hunting team has to submit reports to the AFCD and the Police for record purpose.

(2) AFCD has issued Special Permits to the hunting teams for wild pig hunting. The Special Permits are valid for a year.  One of the conditions of AFCD's Special Permits is that the permit holder and the approved hunting team members shall obtain valid arms licences issued by the Commissioner of Police and shall fully comply with the licence conditions thereunder before they can take part in hunting operations. All hunting team members have to undergo and pass the Police's standard firearms qualification test in order to obtain the arms licences.

(3) Wild pig hunting is an effective measure in managing wild pigs.  As it has been functioning well, there is a need to retain the hunting teams to address the current situation.  The AFCD will continue to closely monitor the appearance of wild pigs to ensure that wild pig hunting operations are carried out under appropriate circumstances.  If necessary, the AFCD will review the situation with the hunting teams and offer advice accordingly.

(4) The tranquiliser dart guns are used according to the circumstances at scene. Since the general anaesthetics has to take about five to 20 minutes to maximise its efficacy, wild pigs may flee immediately after being darted with anaesthetics, and pose danger to the public, and then it will become more difficult to capture them. Only if there are wild pigs injured or trapped in urban areas, the situation at scene warrants and the wild pigs are unable to leave the scene by themselves, the AFCD will deploy vets to capture them with anaesthetics. For those wild pigs which stray in urban areas and have not caused perpetual nuisance or damage, if it is confirmed that they are in good health condition, the AFCD will relocate them in countryside areas that are remote from residential areas.

(5) Apart from obtaining the special permit from AFCD, the hunting team members must also pass the standard shooting test before engaging in hunting. The hunting teams must comply with the requirements of the AFCD and the Police of taking safety measures to prevent accidents and injury incidents. Previous hunting operations did not involve personal injuries or fatalities, and the hunting teams have to take out adequate accident insurance in order to provide proper accident protection.

(6) Upon receipt of notification, hunting team members will be sent to the scene. Confirming to arrange hunting operations, the hunting team will inform the AFCD in writing, which will relay the information to the relevant department(s) and the District Office (DO) concerned, so that they can inform the villagers / residents in the vicinity as soon as possible. The hunting team shall also put up an application to the Police Station concerned at least two working days in advance, stating in detail the arrangements of the wild pig hunting operation, such as the date, time, hunting area, and the list of hunting team members who will participate in the hunting operation, etc.  The hunting team shall obtain prior written approval from the Police (Divisional Commander) before conducting the hunting operation on the date, time and venue as approved by the Police.

     The DO concerned will also inform local villagers / residents of the hunting operation details for safeguarding public safety. Hunting operations are not allowed to be carried out on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. The existing arrangements are considered effective.

     After each operation, the hunting team leader shall submit reports to the AFCD and the Police for record purpose.

(8) Apart from wild pig hunting operation, the AFCD has not killed other wild animals with firearms.  The number of wild pigs being killed with firearms by the wild pig hunting teams in the New Territories, Kowloon, Hong Kong Island and other outlying islands over the past five years are set out at Annex I.

     Wild pigs being killed by the wild pig hunting teams will be transported to the Animal Carcass Collection Points (Collection Points) operated by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) pending processing.

(9) Contractors of the FEHD collect animal carcass at the Collection Points on daily basis. Being informed by the public or other government departments of animal carcass found in public places, the FEHD will arrange its contractors to collect the animal carcass at site as soon as possible. The contractors will apply chloride of lime onto the animal carcass to be collected, put it into an appropriate plastic bag and properly pack it as far as practicable.  Then, the animal carcass will be transported to the recognised landfill for disposal.  Contractors have to submit work reports to the FEHD on monthly basis to provide detailed information of the type of quantity of animal carcass collected during each collection operation from various Collection Points and other places. The method of collection and disposal of animal carcass has been specified in the agreement signed between the FEHD and the contractors.

(10) Over the past three years, both the AFCD and the FEHD have no record on claiming of animal carcass of wild animals.

Ends/Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Issued at HKT 14:08


Print this page