Wild boar loses protections

China’s new list of land animals protected because they have “significant ecological, scientific, and social value” omits wild boar.

Species on the “three-haves” list, published on 30th June by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA), cannot be hunted, traded or transported without permission.

This was the first update to the list since it was created in 2000. At that point, it contained 1,591 species, while the new version has 1,924. Given the NFGA’s statement that “over 700 species” have been added – including muntjac and paradise flycatcher – about 370 must have been removed.

Regarding wild boar, Jin Kun, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Forestry, said there is no longer a threat to their survival, and populations in many areas are too high. “The removal is in line with the basic principles of adjustment,” Jin added.  

Sun Quanhui, senior scientific advisor for World Animal Protection, said the scarcity of predators such as tigers, leopards, wolves and jackals was a major reason for the rapid growth of wild boar populations.

Given increased conflicts between people and wild boar, in 2021 the NFGA implemented pilot projects across China to control hazards. 

Now the wild boar has been removed from the “three-haves” list, hunting can take place in areas where the animal is deemed too numerous with no need for a licence and no quota on kills, according to CCTV News.

The omission of the boar has caused controversy since a draft of the list was released in 2021. Conservationists worry that hunting will have ripple effects on other wild animals, as China Dialogue has reported

Jin told CCTV News that the delisting does not mean wild boars can be killed at will. Prohibited hunting areas, periods, tools and methods still apply, as do national gun management rules, Jin added.

Liu Bingwan, associate professor at Northeast Forestry University, believes that China lacks systematic wild boar research: “We don’t even know the number of wild boars. How much hunting should be done to be ecologically appropriate?”

Sun added that it is essential to rely on scientific assessments rather than conflicts with humans to determine whether wild boar numbers in a given area are excessive. The experience of other countries and regions shows that hunting does not always work, Sun said.

Read China Dialogue’s 2021 article on whether the “three-haves” list helps China’s biodiversity and ecosystems.

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