Friday, April 28, 2006

Of animals endangered and ubiquitous

The Times has an article about 44 species that are either considered on the edge of extinction or on the wrong side of that edge have been spotted (They don't say when, -odd that) in rural areas.

Four critically endangered species, such as flying squirrels, hobbies and wildcats, which were formerly thought to have disappeared, were found in Hoengsung and Hongchon, Kangwon Province.

First, what is a hobbie?

In a previous post, I wrote about train station workers clearing the tracks of dead animals, including wildcats. I hope that's not how they count them.

This is what confused me in the article:
The ministry has also been studying genetic profiles of 113 endangered species, including Siberian tigers and wolves, to better increase their numbers.

Increase? I guess it is a increase from zero to more than zero. I would have chosen the word re-introduce'. Am I wrong here? Are there wild tigers loose in South Korea?

And who wants more? I am excited about seeing wildlife and would love to more, in general. I think the farmers around Chilisan would be the first (after me, actually) to point out that reintroduced animals, bears, in their case, don't stay in the park or reserves they are placed in. Tigers would have trouble hiding in the mountains of major cities but wolves might do okay....

Certainly boar appear to love the cities. Another article in The Times describes a boar boom on Bukhansan and other mountains in and around Seoul.

One boar, about the size of two Korean burst into a bar in Amsa-dong, escaped and was eventually killed somewhere nearby. I don't even know what mountains are near Amsa-dong; in my visits, it seemed pretty flat and developed.

A hunting ban is blamed but the reason for the ban - nobody wants rifle fire downtown - seems sound. Perhaps wolves are the answer. To my knowledge, coyotes do well in urban environments.

Are there any other reasons for the increase in the boar population?
But experts are divided over why the boars increasingly come out into city streets. Some say that the invaders have been driven away from food and territory in the mountains after fights, but others questioned that reasoning.
"In normal conditions, a wild boar does not go into a noisy, polluted city to find food," said Kim Won-myong of the National Institute of Environmental Research.
He said the boars probably head for the city only when they get lost or are flushed out of their domain by mountain climbers or dogs.

In a country whose people can be terrified of a loose lapdog, I think the boar, very smart animals, can quickly learn that cities are relatively safe places to live.

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