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African swine fever: buffer and surveillance zones extended

© Belga
© Belga

Buffer and surveillance zones set up in response to the African swine fever crisis in Luxembourg Province are being extended following the discovery of two boars that tested positive for the virus, the office of Wallonia’s Minister of Nature and Forestry, René Collin, disclosed on Friday. The boars were found on Tuesday in the reinforced surveillance zone, between Meix-devant-Virton and Sommethonne.

Following the discovery of the African swine fever virus in Belgium in September last, various zones were identified: vigilance, core, buffer and reinforced-surveillance zones.

The buffer zone has now been extended westward by 3,700 hectares to the area between National Highway 88 (Limes-Gérouville) and National Highway 871 (Virton-Rouvroy-French border). The measures that apply to this zone remain unchanged, namely a ban on hunting, feeding and movement, and forestry activities limited to individual exemptions reserved for professionals.

The vigilance zone, north of the infected area and in which no infected boars have been found, has been extended by 856 hectares and is now close to the town of Florenville, the minister’s cabinet disclosed. In this zone, as in the reinforced surveillance zone, the total elimination of the boars has been decided. A system of boar traps has been set up, a network of additional fences is being established and night patrols have been organised by the National Forestry Department in collaboration with hunters.

The minister has also issued instructions for the programming of priority forestry activities in the fight against wood-infesting beetles in all zones. It is already agreed that Wallonia will pay for the indispensable disinfecting of forestry equipment.

Meanwhile, Minister Collin was scheduled to meet his counterpart in France’s Agriculture Ministry, Didier Guillaume, for a field visit on Friday afternoon to show him the arrangements made in Wallonia.

The visit comes just days after infected boars were detected close to the border with France.

The Brussels Times