Hong Kong residents have mostly tolerated the existence of wild boars in the city. The animals have roamed through subways, loitered at pedestrian crossings, and have been fed by locals. However, that has all changed as authorities are now cracking down on the wild boars.

The era of wild boars freely roaming the hills and hiking trails surrounding Hong Kong will be coming to an end as authorities have issued an open season on the animals. The move comes after increasing incidents involving the animals, which had culminated in the biting of a police officer last week.

Hong Kong police said that they had launched a boar hunt Thursday. The operation involves the hunting down, capturing, and euthanizing of the wild boards within a half-an-hour drive's radius from the city's financial center. Police said they had captured seven boars during their first operation.

The euthanizing of the wild hogs is a big departure from previous operations, which involved the neutering of the wild animals before they were relocated to more remote areas. Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department claimed that the previous methods had failed to effectively control the "nuisance" animals.

The frequency of boar-related injuries has risen in recent years, with the animals frequently traveling into busy metropolitan areas in search of food. Authorities have long warned that the animals may be dangerous and they could spread disease, but residents have mostly ignored the warnings and continued to feed and approach the wild animals.

A group of four wild boars took a swim in the fountains outside a Bank of China in the city's major financial district late last year, with photos going viral on the internet. They were also observed traveling throughout Hong Kong in a variety of locations. A little pig was observed lounging on the seats of a subway vehicle in June of this year, clearly weary after a long journey.

While those instances may have been entertaining for some residents, other encounters weren't as peaceful. Last week, a wild boar charged and knocked down a police officer before biting him on the leg. The boar was then chased to its death when it plunged into a ravine.

Hong Kong authorities immediately imposed new rules, warning residents of stiff penalties if they continue to feed the wild animals. The AFCD estimates that there are now about 3,000 wild boars living within the city.

The local chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals expressed their dismay about the city's new policy. The group said a non-lethal approach to wildlife management is always recommended as opposed to the planned culling.  An online petition, co-signed by a number of animal rights organizations, has also been circulating.