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Military issues shoot-on-sight order against wild boars as ASF spreads

Welfare/Medicine 11:22 October 04, 2019

SEOUL, Oct. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's military has ordered border-guarding troops to shoot on sight wild pigs crossing the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas as part of efforts to prevent the spread of African swine fever, a government source said Friday.

The measure came after traces of the infectious animal virus were found in a dead wild boar inside the DMZ, some 1.4 kilometers north of the DMZ's southern boundary, earlier this week. A total of 13 cases of African swine fever have been confirmed so far since its first outbreak in the country last month.

"In order to prevent accidental clashes with the North due to our gunshots, we have notified the North of our decision as well," the source said.

African swine fever does not affect humans but is deadly to pigs. There are currently no vaccines nor cures for the disease. Since its outbreak in China in August last year, the disease has spread to neighboring countries, including Mongolia and Vietnam.

The disease's outbreak in South Korea came about four months after North Korea reported its first confirmed case of the disease at a farm near its border with China to the World Organization for Animal Health.

It is as yet unclear through which route the disease broke out in South Korea.

The military has said it is unlikely for wild boars of the DMZ to pass through the barbed wire fence along the southern limit line. But possibilities of their movement across the border have been raised as parts of the fence structure could have been damaged due to bad weather, such as a typhoon.

According to Rep. Ha Tae-kyung of the Bareun Party, five operations are currently underway to restore parts of the fence that have been damaged.

This photo provided by the environment ministry shows a dead wild boar, which had traces of African swine fever, found at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) bisecting the two Koreas on Oct. 2, 2019. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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