Every Sunday, find our chronicle "The stupid age", the animal rendez-vous of Release.

In Hong Kong, nature is never far away, as lush as wild. Especially when it rises between the skyscrapers in the form of a stocky beast of 200 kilos and 2 meters long, with canines and sharp tusks, tail erect in anger. The Chinese semi-autonomous territory, consisting of a peninsula and an archipelago of 200 islands, extends over 1 100 km2 75% of which are covered by a tropical rain forest where many wild species live, monkeys, snakes or porcupines. Urbanization is concentrated on a quarter of the territory, including the narrow coastal strips. However, in recent months, hundreds of wild pigs have abandoned the jungle and their natural shyness to roam the urbanized areas, spilling the trash bins and frightening the inhabitants.

Retired and busy

According to authorities and the local press, in Hong Kong Island alone, where the financial district is located, the wild boar population has increased from 98 in 2013 to 324 in 2017. Intelligent animals with great adaptability, they have become accustomed to the proximity of humans, and no longer hesitate to invite themselves in family barbecues or to spread panic in shopping centers. But a male feels cornered or a mother fears for her young boars, and the wild beast wakes up. In recent months, two pensioners were hospitalized after being loaded and bitten, a woman was attacked at the subway exit, as well as two students.

According to the Hong Kong Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, about 700 wild boar reports were made by residents in 2018, twice as many as in 2013. The habit of some Hong Kongers feeding wild animals could to be at the origin of the phenomenon, as well as the ban on hunting in 2017, decided for security reasons and at the request of animal welfare associations.

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Last year, the video of a giant wild boar feeding in garbage cans caused a sensation. Since then, the authorities have been trying to solve the puzzle. Injections of contraceptives, launched since the break, have not previously seemed to have any effect. Proposals for euthanasia campaigns have raised an uproar. A deputy suggested the idea of ​​reintroducing predators to the territory, but the government has argued that leopards, lions or tigers have disappeared from Hong Kong since 20e century, would pose even greater problems to the population. Another elected to send them to an uninhabited island, but biologists have reminded that the animal is a very good swimmer. While waiting to find a solution that suits everyone in this lunar year of the Pig, the authorities have launched information campaigns to the 7 million inhabitants, and joggers avoid venturing alone at night on the trails of Victoria Peak , which dominates the skyscrapers of Central Hong Kong.

Read also :Hong Kong long, wide and high

Laurence Defranoux

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