FUKUOKA -- A boar led police on a wild chase through this southwestern Japanese city for much of the morning of Aug. 5.
The animal was spotted near Ohori Park at about 6:05 a.m. by a member of Fukuoka Prefectural Police's riot squad on duty at the U.S. Consulate, situated next to the park in the city's Chuo Ward. The animal took off, with officers in hot pursuit. The police tried to snare the boar when it went into the grass near the municipal museum in the park, but it managed to escape.
Next it zipped into the adjoining Maizuru Park, home to the ruins of Fukuoka Castle, and had officers chasing after it through the center of the city. It was finally captured just before noon.
According to Chuo Police Station, the animal was about 70 centimeters long. There were two emergency calls in the early hours of Aug. 5 to report wild boar sightings in the jurisdiction of Sawara Police Station, Chuo Station's neighbor to the west. Officers at Chuo Station believe the boar they captured is the one reported earlier in the day. Nevertheless, police advised public caution, stating that boars are "dangerous if they recklessly run around the city and crash into people or vehicles."
The official in charge of wild animal and boar countermeasures at the Fukuoka Municipal Government's agriculture and forestry department stated, "We've never had one of the animals appear in Ohori Park." Meanwhile, Kiyofumi Yasukouchi, a 62-year-old consultant at the city zoo, commented, "Wild boars seeking other animals sometimes travel along river courses. Perhaps it was a young boar with little experience, which ended up lost in the city while looking for food."
(Japanese original by Haruna Tasaki and Tomohiro Shimohara, Kyushu News Department)