Sunday, August 21, 2005

Nuisance wildlife

I posted earlier this week about a bear in Jirisan being caught in a trap just outside the park limits. There was more about the traps in Friday's Joongang. Since a crackdown on poaching, wild boars and other wildlife - mostly rodents and birds, haivng been causing increasing amounts of farm damage.

The trap that killed the bear was one of many types of farm protection measures. Fences, spreading of tiger dung from zoos, scarecrows and use of loudspeakers are all common. I recall that while helping at the family farm near Kimhae, a large air-gun that sounded, to my untrained ears, like a howitzer, fired every few minutes.

The farmers are trapped between the hungry animals and the Environment Ministry, which can fine trappers 10 million won and give them up to 2 years in jail. The Ministry is now offering financial support for fencing and the use of professional hunters during harvest season for trouble spots.

Sending in professional hunters reminds me of "Maneaters of Kumaon" by Jim Corbett, who travelled through India, killing maneating tigers. Boar are a somewhat less dangerous prey than tigers, though.

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