No evidence was found in scientific literature proving that wild boar populations can be drastically reduced by hunting or trapping in Europe. The main reasons are the adaptive behaviour of wild boar, compensatory growth of the population and the possible influx of wild boar from adjacent areas. Thus, drastic hunting is not a tool to reduce the risk for introduction and spread of ASFV in wild boar populations. Furthermore, wild boar density thresholds for introduction, spread and persistence of ASFV in the wild boar populations are currently impossible to establish, due to the uncertainty regarding the extent of the spread and maintenance of ASFV, the biases in population datasets, the complex population structures and dynamics. Furthermore, attempts to drastically reduce wild boar populations may even increase transmission and facilitate progressive geographical spread of ASFV, since intensive hunting pressure on wild boar populations leads to dispersion of groups and individuals. Artificial feeding of wild boar might increase the risk of ASFV spread. Fencing can restrict wild boar movements, however further knowledge of the ASF epidemiology and spatial distribution of wild boar is required to identify the areas where fencing could be used as one possible element of a control programme and to assess the feasibility of its implementation.
These are some of the findings of EFSA’s scientific advice on control measures to reduce the spread of the virus among wild boar, delivered following an urgent request from the European Commission.
Monday March 17, 2014/ EFSA/ European Union.