Page last updated at 15:27 GMT, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Pakistan's new menace: Wild boars

By Aijaz Maher
BBC News, Islamabad

Wild boar
Pakistan has declared the boar public pest number one

The authorities in Pakistan's capital Islamabad have launched a major cull of wild boars after they broke into a high security zone.

Dozens of the animals have been shot or poisoned so far in the ongoing campaign, which is centred around the grounds of the presidential palace.

Boars inhabit the thickly-forested areas around Islamabad.

The city is located in a valley in the foothills of the Himalayas which provides them with perfect cover.

The animals have become a public nuisance in recent years, causing serious accidents and property damage.

'Population boom'

"We started the campaign after the boars infiltrated the green zone around the presidential palace," Raja Mohammad Javed, director of the Capital Development authority, told the BBC.

"Eighteen have been killed in the grounds of the presidential palace alone so far.

"The population has really boomed, and there are many hogs in the prime minister's residence as well," Mr Javed added.

At the moment though, he says the clean-up campaign is focused on the presidential palace.

Mr Javed said local citizens were responsible for the "spiralling hog population" as they threw rubbish in empty plots, which attracted them.

"We have hired hunters to track and kill the hogs, and they are sent out whenever a complaint is received," the director explained.

Mr Javed said special permits had also been issued to concerned local citizens and some foreign diplomats to hunt the boars.

It was not possible to put a figure on the numbers of boars in the capital as no survey has yet been conducted, he said.

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