FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Serbian hunters receive training on African swine fever and hunting biosecurity

This summer, FAO, in collaboration with Vojvodinasume and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), has already held nine training events for hunters on African swine fever (ASF) at various locations in Serbia, with today being the tenth and last. The trainings were organized upon the request of Serbia to widen the knowledge of hunters, specifically ‘intervention team members’ (hunting ground managers supporting ASF control), on ASF and hunting biosecurity.

The disease was first detected in 2019 in the country and outbreaks were noticed both in domestic pigs and wild boar. In 2021, new outbreaks were reported and further areas have been affected.

During the course of two months, more than 200 hunting ground managers (intervention team members) from hunting grounds across the country have taken part in the training, led by FAO expert and lead trainer Jovan Mirceta, on detecting ASF on their hunting ground, and preventing and controlling this deadly disease.

The training consists of two parts. The mornings started with a theoretical section where participants received the most important information on how ASF affects the wild boar population and how to find dead wild boar carcasses, as well as procedures on how to avoid spreading the disease by following good biosecurity practices during hunting. In the afternoon, practical demonstrations were given on how to dress a wild boar carcass.

“Reaching out to, involving, and training hunters on ASF and hunting biosecurity can be just as important as training veterinarians,” said FAO animal health preparedness expert Mark Hovari. “Our local partners and field experts have done a fantastic job on training so many hunters on ASF in a very short time.”

In 2019, FAO organized an assessment mission and biosecurity workshop on African swine fever in Serbia, which was followed by a workshop on ASF in wild boar. Earlier this year, a multi-country simulation workshop involving veterinary services of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia also took place.

“Under our projects we aim to have a comprehensive approach and involve all relevant stakeholders,” said Daniel Beltran-Alcrudo, technical advisor on animal health. “Within the scope of the project, we have reached out and trained over hundred veterinarians, both online and face-to-face, involved livestock owners in our events, and now trained over 200 hunters who will now further assist the control of African swine fever.”

25 August 2021, Donji Milanovac, Serbia