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Military kills 126 wild boars in intensive hunting operation to prevent ASF spread

Defense 11:42 October 17, 2019

SEOUL, Oct. 17 (Yonhap) -- The military removed 126 wild boars in areas bordering North Korea in an intensive two-day operation to prevent the possible spread of African swine fever (ASF) through the animals, the defense ministry said Thursday.

Around 70 to 80 teams, each comprised of about 12 military officers, civilian hunters and quarantine officials, were sent to such border towns as Paju and Yeoncheon in Gyeonggi Province and Cheorwon and Goseong in Gangwon Province on Tuesday to hunt down wild boars with guns and traps through Thursday on a trial basis.

The measure comes after several wild boars were found dead north of Seoul this month amid speculation that the highly contagious virus may have traveled from the North, which reported its outbreak a few months ago. So far, seven wild boars have tested positive for the highly contagious virus, with the latest one being confirmed on Wednesday.

"We've wrapped up the 48-hour operation. Based upon the result, we are now reviewing its safety, effectiveness and appropriateness to decide whether to fully carry out the operation," defense ministry spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo told a regular briefing.

"No cases have been found where wild boars crossed the border into the South through fences inside the Demilitarize Zone (DMZ)," she added.

The virus is harmless to humans but is highly contagious and fatal for pigs. There is no cure or vaccine, and the only known way to prevent the disease from spreading is the culling of affected livestock or animals that were likely exposed to the virus.

Traps to catch wild boars are sent to a military base in Hwacheon, Gangwon Province, on Oct. 16, 2019. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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