Monday, November 22, 2010

Boared yet again

[Lengthy update at bottom]

The Joongang Ilbo has an article about sightings of wild boars, including one in Samcheong park on Sunday which resulted in its capture. There's a photo of it after its capture here, as well as a chart showing the number of boars caught by year, as well as the number of sightings in cities and on roads since the beginning of October this year, including a collision in Chungcheongbuk-do that left a driver dead.

This isn't the first time boars have made there way into cities - it was reported on (and blown out of proportion) five years ago after boars made three incursions into Seoul in the space of a few weeks:
The capital is under threat from an unlikely invasion after wild boars were sighted at several locations around the metropolitan area. Last month there were repeated sightings at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill Hotel; now a den that is home to scores of the aggressive beasts has been discovered in Achasan.
Terrifying stuff. Less terrifying were these photos which turned up in June 2006 of a baby boar found in Yangyang, Gangwon-do which was being raised by a woman's dogs as if it was their own.

(From here).

(From here)

Unfortunately, soon after these photos were taken a neighbouring dog realized the identity of the boar and killed it. (I'm not sure if it was possible for that story to have a happy ending, really.)

When I first read about the boars, I wondered just how dangerous they were. To be sure, having a 200 - 300 pound animal charge you is not something that will turn out well, and I eventually noticed that Korean boars did have tusks. What really brought it home was a story in Horace G. Underwood's memoir Korea in War, Revolution and Peace (as well as in Donald Clark's Living Dangerously in Korea) about a hunting trip in the 1930s in (I think; the book's at home) Gangwon-do. The Underwoods built an addition to a Korean family's house with the stipulation that they got to use it for a week of the year, and they would get locals to go up onto the mountain and act as beaters, making noise as they moved down the mountain in tandem, chasing animals to the bottom where the hunters waited. Once, a boar had been shot and one of the Korean men moved towards it when it suddenly reared up and slashed his leg open with its tusk. The man was sent to Seoul and was fine, but Underwood noted that a knife could not have made a cleaner cut than that boar's tusk. He also noted, however, that that was the only time he'd seen a boar gore someone.


YTN has a report on the latest boar to be caught, as does MBC (in IE only). Do watch the MBC report though, as it's got some great footage (hat tip to Gary Norris). When MBC explains the number of wild boars in the mountains around Seoul, it uses these great graphics:


All I can ask is, "What did you do with Cheongwadae, you bastard pigs?!" Even more fun is footage of a convenience store clerk standing on top of the counter, for what is apparently good reason - it jumps up on the counter after the clerk, who leaps off.

That's a pretty aggressive pig.
The one thing I can't figure out is why they blurred out one of the pigs' faces. While it crossed my mind that 초상권 may also apply to wild animals, I then remembered that most of the other boars had their faces shown. Perhaps that particular boar is related to someone in a position of power. Which might explain the cheongwadae connection above.

Here are a few related articles from the Joongang Ilbo over the past five years:

Searching for a meal
‘Wild pig chase’ ends after 11 hours
A hunting ban spurs city boar baby boom
Leopards on the decline (Which says that the last leopard in Korea was caught in Jirisan in 1963)
An article about the mutant boar movie Chaw.
Wild boars are a hog-sized problem (which tells us that in 1518 boars dug up the grave of a queen)
Villagers up in arms as wild boar invade
The quiet night of Oct. 19 [2009] turned to terror with locals’ screams as a group of nine wild and hungry boar slipped into an apartment complex in a mountainous region of Gumi, North Gyeongsang.
If those boars were anything like the one in the convenience store, I don't imagine it would have been much fun for the people outdoors that night.

Still, I can't help but think of something like SNL's classic 'land shark' sketch, with the doorbell ringing and the family thinking the tangsuyuk has arrived*, only to have half a dozen wild boars burst into the apartment instead. It might work as a trailer. Begin by showing deforestation and apartment complexes surrounding mountains, follow it with images of police chasing and killing boars, and launch into the apartment complex attack.
The scene at school the next day isn't difficult to imagine: "Chul-soo! Do you really expect me to believe that a wild boar ate your homework?!"
"But-but - "

It pretty much writes itself...

* I suppose the tangsuyuk had arrived - but in an uncooked, still-living form.


Unknown said...

My wife and I were at a jjimjilbang last night after returning from a weekend with family in icheon. MBC ran a story about the boars on the news. Great cctv capture of one charging into a small store and lunging over the counter at a clerk. The shocked clerk ran out of the store.

I've been giggling ever since. This story coming after the morning's dongmul episode about a dog rubbing it's ass on a chair and a crazy ostrich. Korea has a strange relationship with the peninsula's animal habitat--that which it doesn't eat...

Anonymous said...


>Who is it?



>Mandoo jjib.

>We didn't order any mando.


matt said...

Gary Norris:

The way city folks here scream at the mere sight of a tiny insect is always amusing to watch.

It's worth remembering that people in Korea weren't always at the top of the food chain (see here and here). A friend's father remembered (in the 1940s) being awoken one night by the dog running into the house and trembling as a the low growl of a tiger could be heard outside the compound wall.

Nice adaptation for the local market.

I just found (part of it) here.

A transcript of the entire skit is here.

daeguowl said...

Regarding the blurred face:

1. The pig was smoking...(health censorship)
2. The pig had gored someone and was running around with a male appendage in its mouth...(porn censorship)
3. The pig had somehow been injured and had its snout cut-off or was bleeding profusely...(violence censorship)