Nearly 2,000 wild boar culled to end of November

Wild boar in an Estonian forest.
Wild boar in an Estonian forest. Source: Veljo Runnel, TÜ loodusmuuseum

Close to 2,000 wild boar have been culled by hunters in Estonia to the end of November as part of the government's drive to contain African swine fever (ASF).

The Environment Board confirmed the cull limit connected with ASF at 5,575 in September. The island of Hiiumaa saw the largest number of the total culled at 629, despite, or perhaps because of the fact it is the only Estonian county where African swine fever has not yet been detected. Põlva County saw the smallest cull at 33, which happened at the end of October.

A reported 36 wild boar were also found dead and subsequently disposed of.

Wild boar can be culled under the terms of the environment board's quota year round; compliance is monitored and hunters and interested parties are kept updated by the board as well as the Veterinary and Food Board and other related authorities.

ASF has severely harmed Estonian domestic pig farming, however, with the number of farms falling from over 900 to a little over 100 2014-2018. Detection of a single case means the destruction of an entire herd. In addition to wild boar, around 21 domestic pigs were culled as a result of ASF.

The VFB had been pushing for higher wild boar culls in an effort to stave of ASF, citing a figure as high as 7,500 early in the year. In 2010 the total number of wild boar in Estonia was estimated at over 22,000. Wild boar are one of the widest-ranging mammals in the world and classed in some areas as an invasive species; there are several sub-species, with those in Estonia being central European wild boar (Sus scrofa scrofa).

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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