Extermination prescribed to wild boars of Tatarstan

Almost 9,000 wild boars — the main carriers of the deadly African swine fever — have been exterminated in the forests of Tatarstan over the year

Last December, Tatarstan was included in the list of regions where cases of African swine fever (ASF) were recorded. If it does not pose any danger to humans and other animals, then this virus is deadly for domestic pigs. In the absence of effective medicines and vaccines against this disease, the only effective way to fight it is to simply shoot the main carriers of the infection — wild boars. Today, the number of pigs in Tatarstan exceeds half a million, and the main task is to prevent their infection with ASF. Another attack has hit poultry farms this year — avian flu has been brought to the republic again. The economic damage from it has already exceeded 200 million rubles.

An attack came from where they did not expect

Experts of the Veterinary Department of Tatarstan expected that the outbreak of ASF in Samara Oblast, where an emergency situation was declared due to the malicious virus at the end of last year, could well penetrate into the Bavlin or Leninogorsk districts due to their proximity to Bashkiria and Orenburg Oblast, which borders with Samara Oblast.

However, the first cases of African plague were found in mid-December almost in the very centre of the republic — Yelabuga district, on the territory of the Nizhnyaya Kama national park. The veterinary department still cannot identify what became the source of infection, deputy head of the agency Gabdulkhak Motygullin admitted at a press conference: “One of the options may be through feed or wild boars. As experts say, they can run up to 80 km in a day.”

As a result, 6 foci of African plague infection were identified in the territory of Tatarstan — one each in the Almetyevsk and Yelabuga districts and 4 at once in Zainsky district. The ASF was detected in wild boars, and the virus did not enter the private farms in the settlements of these areas.

As Motygullin stressed, the ASF is one of the most dangerous diseases that threatens the mass death of animals. Photo: sntat.ru

Wild boar being hunted

As Motygullin stressed, the ASF is one of the most dangerous diseases that threatens the mass death of animals: when infected with it, domestic pigs die in 5-10 days. But scientists around the world have not yet created a cure for the plague, the existing vaccine is ineffective, added chief state veterinary inspector Yevgeny Ivanov. The deadly virus dies only at temperatures above 70 degrees Celsius. Fortunately, this disease does not pose a threat to humans and other animal species.

Most often, wild boars become carriers of the dangerous infection, which quite actively migrate not only in the districts, but also in the regions of the country. Therefore, so far the only effective method that helps to avoid the rapid spread of the ASF is the shooting of these artiodactyls. The main task is to prevent the virus from entering the industrial pig husbandry. Today, the number of pigs in the Republic of Tatarstan is half a million, the lion's share of which (300,000 heads) is bred by the Kamsky Bekon company.

Twenty-six hunters came out to fight against the carriers of the African plague that lived in the Nizhnaya Kama national park. A similar operation took place a week ago in the forests of the Zainsky district. Daily shooting is a forced measure, and it will not destroy the boar population, Gabdulkhak Motygullin assured, they multiply very quickly.

In total, from the beginning of last year to today, according to Motygullin, more than 8,700 heads of artiodactyls have been exterminated on the territory of Tatarstan. Despite that the hunting season on the territory of the republic is from June to February, wild boar hunting does not stop in the rest of the period.

Twenty-six hunters came out to fight against the carriers of the African plague that lived in the Nizhnaya Kama national park. Photo: ojm.tatarstan.ru

This method of regulating the number helps to maintain the federal standard, said Rinat Chispiyakov, the head of the Department for the Protection of the Animal and Plant Life of the State Committee for Bioresources of the Republic of Tatarstan. He said that according to the federal document, the density of forest population with these animals should be no more than 0,25 heads per 1,000 hectares, that is, on the territory of the republic, the number of these animals should not exceed 1,500 heads. Now the habitat density has decreased to 0,21.

Another preventive measure is the transfer of pig farms to a closed mode of operation. As for personal subsidiary farms, each district keeps a strict record of pigs, and they are also prescribed indoor breeding. In addition, pigs should be kept in a separate room, away from other pets that may be carriers of the dangerous virus. Special preventive measures are also in place for the 700 employees of Kama Bekon: for example, they are forbidden to enter the forest belt, fields and go to areas where there are cases of ASF infection.

Also, to prevent the migration of wild boars, buffer zones are being created — if earlier 20-kilometre zones were mainly on the border of the republic, where it was forbidden to feed artiodactyls, now such areas are formed at a distance of 20 kilometres from 3 large pig breeding complexes — in the Buinsky, Sabinsky and Tukayevsky districts. From next year, the existing feeders are not planned to be filled with feed, the representative of the State Committee for Bioresources added. In the same areas, the staff of the State Committee will prevent any appearance of wild boars, Chispiyakov assured:

“I think we will still come to such a prosperous state in the republic that we will defeat the ASF, we must defeat it.”

Buffer zones are created to prevent boar migration. Photo: dmckazan.ru

Avian flu causes 200 million in damage

Another dangerous virus, avian flu, has hit poultry farms in Tatarstan. As a result, only in one agricultural complex Zalesny, economic damage amounted to about 200 million rubles: because of the virus, 175,000 turkeys and 85 tonnes of meat had to be eliminated. Personal subsidiary farms in Muslyumovsky, Buinsky and Drozhzhanovsky districts also suffered — all together they lost about 5 million rubles.

Today, 8 hotbeds are being quarantined on the territory of Russia. Since last week, the status of Tatarstan has changed — Buinsky, Drozhzhanovsky and Muslyumovsky districts are now not included in the list of unfavourable in terms of bird flu. During three months, while the quarantine lasted, poultry farms operating on their territory could not sell their products. The Zelenodolsky district remains in the status of a dysfunctional district until March 25.

Most often, the infected poultry is brought by resellers, selling it in the villages of Tatarstan, said Gabdulkhak Motygullin. Therefore, he advised farmers and villagers to purchase chickens or hatching eggs only at official sites in regional centres, where all these products have veterinary accompanying documents.

“Now it is the time, not a peaceful time, I apologise for the expression, you need to be on the alert, you should not buy birds or animals from crooks. If you have any questions — contact the veterinary associations, the heads of rural settlements.”

Besides, the representative of the veterinary department of Tatarstan appealed to all residents with the request to immediately inform them or the Committee on Bioresources if they meet a herd of wild boars in the forest or other area.

By Angelina Panchenko