Understanding Human Wildlife Interactions in Hong Kong Using the Wild Pig (Sus scrofa) as a Case Study
Hannah Mumby & Yifu Wang The University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong is often seen as a concrete jungle, yet more than forty percent of the land area is protected as Country Parks. This provides opportunities for wildlife to thrive and also to interact with humans. Wild pigs (Sus scrofa) are the largest remaining terrestrial mammal native to Hong Kong, and one of the most commonly reported wildlife species in local news media. The interactions between humans and wild pigs can be used to investigate the complex and multi-layered nature of human wildlife interaction. Interactions range from peaceful encounters to injuries, with the former much more common, but the later receiving substantial public and media attention. We based our study on three aspects: 1) tracing online news reports about wild pigs in HK and delineating human wild pig interactions in media in different languages, 2) conducting surveys to investigate public perceptions, and 3) carrying out ecological and physiological studies to understand wild pig diet and ecological impacts. Our key findings include voices appearing in the news media differ in speaker identity, with Chinese media including more residents while English media having more NGO speakers. We found public attitudes towards wild pigs are not linked to their encountering rate with wild pigs but more about personal identity, such as a hiker or pet owner. Findings would later be integrated to propose evidence-based wild pig management strategies. We plan to extend the scope of this study to further species and thereby continue to provide insights on human wildlife interaction in Hong Kong.