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Estonia has done a lot of work to prevent the spreading of African swine fever

Photo: Aimar Rakko
Photo: Aimar Rakko

African swine fever (ASF) has been fought since 2014 in Estonia. Strict biosafety measures have been applied to keep ASF from farms and the spread of ASF has come to a halt in our forests thanks to decreasing the wild boar population.

A lot of work has been done in four years, resulting in decreasing the risk of ASF spreading to farms. The targeted hunting of wild boars has significantly decreased the wild boar population. In comparison with 2014 when ASF reached Estonia, the wild boar population in our forests has dropped by about six times.

According to Head Director of the Environmental Board Andres Onemar, hunters have understood the severity of the situation and hunted the required volume of wild boar. “We understand that because of this disease, the hobby has turned into a second job for many hunters. We appreciate and thank all hunters who have fulfilled the requirements of the Environmental Board to fight back the spread of the disease," said Onemar. Hunting wild boar must continue at least within the scope of regeneration and their population needs to be kept at up to one specimen per 1,000 ha of hunting land in the upcoming years.

According to Indrek Halliste, Head Director of the Veterinary and Food Board (VFB), communal activity has been the key to limiting the spread of ASF. “ASF is definitely the cooperation point number one for the VFB, the Environmental Board and the Estonian Hunters’ Society. The Estonian Hunters' Society has done an excellent job raising awareness among hunters, resulting in following biosafety requirements as well as decreasing the wild boar population,” said Halliste.

“African swine fever is a problem for all of us and we can only fight it efficiently by banding together,” said Tõnis Korts of the Estonian Hunters’ Society (EHS). “As resource users, hunters have taken responsibility and given their best in restricting the spread of the disease,” Korts explained. “In addition to hunting, hunters must also follow biosafety measures to the letter,” he added.

African swine fever was last diagnosed in domestic pigs in September 2017 in Estonia. As of 31 August of this year, a total of 3,564 wild boar have been inspected, 236 of which were ASF positive. Most recently, an ASF positive wild board was found in Estonian forests on 24 July.

This year, there have been 109 outbreaks of ASF diagnosed in domestic swine in Poland, 49 in Lithuania, 10 in Latvia and 940 in Romania. The first instances of ASF were diagnosed in wild boar in Belgium on 13 September, where ASF was identified in three dead wild boar.


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