Colossal wild boar cull on the cards in Poland
PR dla Zagranicy
The Ministry of Agriculture has announced plans to cull 40,000 wild boar in eastern Poland in an attempt to stop African Swine Fever (ASF) from spreading further into the country.
Wild boar. Photo: wikimedia commons/GerardM
“Due to occurrences of ASF near Poland’s eastern borders it is being planned to begin a cull of boars on the border with Belarus and Ukraine,” the Ministry commented, clarifying that this would be carried out within a 50 km radius of an already existing biosecurity area.
ASF is lethal to wild boar and other forms of swine though there is no known danger to humans from the disease.
Since its initial appearance in Poland in February 2014, 84 cases of ASF have been confirmed in wild boar, all within 25 km of the border with Belarus. Several countries placed embargoes on Polish pork products.
The Ministry added that it aims to reduce the density of the wild boar population in the affected area to 0.5 boars per square kilometre, a level which experts believe is sufficiently low to significantly reduce the risk of ASF spreading further.
However, a number of environmental organizations in Poland have expressed concern at the proposed cull, claiming that similar actions in Belarus have had little effect on the spread of ASF.
The organizations have suggested that feeding wild animals should be banned, arguing that this causes wild animal populations to grow beyond their natural level. It is estimated that over 100,000 tons of food is given to wild animals every year in Poland.
No final decision on the cull has been made and a public consultation is currently underway. Poland approved its first ASF-related cull of wild boars in July 2014, with just over 3,000 boars shot. (sl/nh)