A wild boar welfare group on Wednesday urged the government to adopt better urban planning practices as a way to manage problems caused by the animals, while repeating its call for an end to the killing of the creatures.
Roni Wong from the Hong Kong Wild Boar Concern Group made the comment on RTHK's Hong Kong Today programme, a day after the administration announced its latest proposal to stem the problem of feral animals: an extension of a ban on feeding wild animals to all parts of Hong Kong, as well as an increase in penalties.
"Our organisation does not oppose the suggestion by the government in stepping up its efforts in combatting the illegal feeding of the wild boars," Wong told RTHK's Ben Tse.
"I think what's more important is that the government should firstly terminate the killing wild boars policy" and then return to its contraception and return policy for wild boars.
He said he was worried that manpower would be stretched as officials attempt to monitor hotspots for the feeding of wild boards, and said animal-friendly urban planning would be more useful.
In a paper submitted to the Legislative Council on Tuesday, the Environment and Ecology Bureau said the feeding of wild boars had become a major nuisance in recent years, adding that there is a need to amend the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance to raise public awareness and increase the deterrent effect.
At present, the ordinance only prohibits the feeding of monkeys and other wild animals at specified places, such as country parks. The bureau said it had considered expanding the prohibition to cover what it said were feeding blackspots, but decided on a universal ban.
To tackle repeat offenders or illegal feeding of "a serious nature and magnitude", officials propose to raise the maximum penalty to HK$100,000 and one year in jail, up from the current HK$10,000 fine.
They also hope to introduce a fixed penalty of HK$5,000 for offenders, which is higher than the current fixed penalty for contamination of public places.
Officials introduced the policy of capturing and "humanely dispatching" boars in November, citing an increasing number of cases of people being injured by wild boars.