Chinese Villagers Try to Annoy Away Invasive Boars

Farmers in China's eastern province of Zhejiang have been facing a wild boar problem -- and they've found a novel way of combating it. In the last 10 years, the animals' numbers have skyrocketed, to the point where they are devastating crops and encroaching on tourist spots. Locals have tried hunting them. They've tried scaring them off with fireworks. None of that seems to have done the trick. Now, local farmers are trying to cast the boars away with two of the most annoying things on Earth -- vuvuzelas and karaoke.The estimated wild boar population in the province in estimated to be around 150,000 -- up from about 30,000 only ten years ago. According a report from Xinhua, the boom in pig numbers has been fueled by an increase in reforestation, which has increased steadily over the last two decades.

The county's director of wildlife protection, Song Weizhen, explains:

In some aspects, the growing boar population shows us the success of the policy of returning farm land to its original use as forests.

Because the boars are enjoying more room to grow, they're forced to look elsewhere for food, which can be found readily in the region's farmland. In some parts, as much as one-third of crops have been destroyed, but that's not the only toll. In the last decade, 22 people were killed and 188 injured by encounters with the animals.

When it became clear that something had to be done to reduce the boar population, the government authorized farmers to hunt them -- but the allowance of 10,000 boars proved not enough to quell their growth rate. Other, more humane methods were ineffective in scaring them off as well.

"The growing wild boar population is now a disaster to our village and neighboring ones. We knock on gongs, explode firecrackers and even use bombs, but there are just so many," one farmer in the region told Xinhua.

Now the gloves are coming off. Vuvuzelas, made infamous for their unrelenting drone throughout the World Cup -- and even karaoke -- are two of the most recent methods being used in the fight against marauding animals.

A group of 23 villagers have gotten together to form a "crops-protection team," patrolling the farmlands with noisemakers at night to ward off the invasive boar.

While it is certainly a more humane solution than killing the animals that, by no fault of their own, are destroying farmers' crops -- as anyone who watched the World Cup this year or has ever been to a karaoke bar knows, it's really not that humane.

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Tags: Animals | Biology | China | Farming

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