To keep the spread of African swine fever in check, 7,500 wild boar are to be shot in Estonia before the end of February. The Veterinary and Food Board (VTA) finds that this number needs to be increased, as the disease was confirmed in a pig shot this month in the municipality of Harku close to Tallinn.
Wild boar carrying the African swine fever (ASF) virus are a danger to Estonia's pig farming industry. Though the disease is no danger to humans, the losses incurred in livestock that needs to be put down have been significant over the last few years.
Recently the issue has been a concern mainly for pig farmers in the south, but a wild boar shot in the rural municipality of Harku in Harju County confirms that the virus is spreading in other parts of the country again as well.
To reduce contact between individual boar, VTA has set a quota of 1.5 pigs per 1,000 hectares of hunting grounds. This, it hopes, will slow down the spread of the virus. In total this means that the plan is to shoot some 7,500 animals by the end of next month.
Tõnis Korts of the Estonian Hunters' Society told ERR's Aktuaalne kaamera newscast on Thursday that the hunting year is ending next month, and that at this point 70 percent of the overall quota has been reached. With another month and a half to go, Korts is confident that the target of 7,500 kills will be reached.
At the VTA, the opinion is that the number of animals to be killed should be increased. As this winter hasn't seen a lot of snow, estimating the wild boar populations in Estonia is difficult, which means that based on this lack of certainty, even more pigs could be shot.
Editor: Dario Cavegn