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[Newsmaker] Military culls wild boars to stop spread of swine fever

South Korea’s Defense Ministry kicked off a joint operation Tuesday to shoot wild boars to stop the African swine fever from spreading near the border areas to North Korea, after infected carcasses were found.

In a joint mission with the Environment Ministry, about 70 to 80 teams of 11 to 12 members each, will be dispatched to border regions, including Paju, Cheorwon and Yeoncheon to shoot down the wild boars with guns and traps, according to the Defense Ministry.

Photographs show wild boar carcasses found in Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi Province and Cheorwon, Gangwon Proince, near the border to North Korea. They are confirmed to be infected by African swine fever. (Yonhap)
Photographs show wild boar carcasses found in Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi Province and Cheorwon, Gangwon Proince, near the border to North Korea. They are confirmed to be infected by African swine fever. (Yonhap)

Since the first case was confirmed in mid-September, there have been 14 cases of African swine fever reported in South Korean farms. As all of the cases were found in border areas, suspicions have been raised that the highly contagious virus may have traveled from the North.

In case of the regions where the cases have already been found the military will install fences and other obstructions to prevent wild boars from moving to other regions.

The ministry will conduct the operation for 48 hours on a trial basis and will assess the effectiveness to decide whether to fully implement the measure, it added.

On Tuesday, the National Institute of Environmental Research confirmed that a carcass of a wild boar found the day before was infected with swine fever. The carcass was found some 900 meters away from the Civilian Control Line near the border with North Korea in Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi Province.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)
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