Environnement.brussels encounters poaching in the Sonian Forest

Environnement.brussels reported on Wednesday that carcasses of wild animals were found in the Sonian Forest and Elisabeth Park in Koekelberg earlier this year. The ministry is concerned about these cases of poaching, which are still rare but can pose health risks.

In January, a forester discovered the remains of the carcasses of two wild boars on the edge of the Sonian Forest in Watermael-Boitsfort. "The forester had never seen anything like this in twenty years," said Pascale Hourman, spokeswoman for Environnement.brussels. "Traps were probably set and the boars were slaughtered on the spot".

A few weeks later, parts of deer and wild boar were found in Elisabethpark in Koekelberg. Hunting is forbidden in the Brussels-Capital Region and is punishable by a fine of between 50 and 62,500 euros.


Laboratory tests were carried out on the carcasses found. The results were negative for certain important pathogens, but poaching poses a risk to public health, warns Environnement.brussels. Pathogens, including African and classical swine fever, can be transmitted to humans and animals through contact.

Since 2007, African swine fever has been spreading through the Caucasus, Russia and Ukraine towards the European Union. Since 2014, the disease has been present in several EU countries. In addition to Asia, there have been numerous outbreaks in Poland and Romania. In September 2018, the virus made a significant leap, infecting hundreds of wild boars in Belgium. The first case of the disease in Germany was detected in September 2020.

Contaminated food

The disease is almost always fatal in domestic pigs but not dangerous to humans. African swine fever can be easily transmitted from one animal to another through direct contact, as well as through objects (vehicles, boots, clothing...) or contaminated food or food waste left by humans. Classical swine fever is a viral disease that occurs in pigs. The virus is harmless to humans.

Nevertheless, Environnement.brussels warns consumption of potentially contaminated meat can cause diseases such as trichinosis or tuberculosis. The department, therefore, urges the public not to touch dead wild animals and to report any sightings to [email protected] or 02/775.75.75.


Walking path through the woods of Watermael-Boitsfort, Brussels, Belgium. © EASY FOTOSTOCK

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