Bloody spectacle: Indonesian villages pit wild boars against dogs

CIKAWAO, Indonesia (Reuters) - A gory fight to the death between snarling dogs and captured wild boars.

Gathered around a bamboo-walled arena, Indonesians in this remote part of Java island seem eager to watch the blood-curdling contests, known locally as 'adu bagong' (boar fighting). 

Not surprisingly, animal rights activists are up in arms against the regular spectacle, which began in the 1960s when wild pig numbers in this area in West Java soared and they were hunted to protect crops.

Participants told Reuters the fights were a way to preserve a tradition of hunting in the area. There's also a cash prize of up to $2,000 for the winning dog.

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Indonesian villages pit wild boars against dogs
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Indonesian villages pit wild boars against dogs
A dog and wild boar fight during a contest, known locally as 'adu bagong' (boar fighting), in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A student runs to a classroom after removing his shoes in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A child holds his ram during a ram fight event in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A street vendor smokes a cigarette as he waits for customers in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, October 12, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Children play volleyball at an abandoned rice field in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 21, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Women eat their lunch as they take a break from planting beans in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, October 12, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Women plant onion in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Villagers stand on a bamboo stage to watch a fight contest between dogs and captured wild boars, known locally as 'adu bagong' (boar fighting), in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A woman buys fruits at a market in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Dog breeder Agus Badud's family sit near the cage of their dog during a fight contest between dogs and captured wild boars, known locally as 'adu bagong' (boar fighting), in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 24, 2017. "I take part in this contest to increase the selling price and economic value of my dogs, and it would be useless for me as a breeder if I did not participate in a contest like this," Badud said in his house where he keeps 40 dogs. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A dog and wild boar fight during a contest, known locally as 'adu bagong' (boar fighting), in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Women share a joke as they walk to a paddy field in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, October 12, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A dog and wild boar fight during a contest, known locally as 'adu bagong' (boar fighting), in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Villagers react as they watch a contest fight between dogs and captured wild boars, known locally as 'adu bagong' (boar fighting), in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A woman stands in a field where she is planting beans in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, October 12, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Dog breeder Agus Badud's dog sits in his cage after he got washed in Cibiuk village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 27, 2017. Badud's dogs participate in fights against captured wild boars in contests, known locally as 'adu bagong' (boar fighting). "I take part in this contest to increase the selling price and economic value of my dogs, and it would be useless for me as a breeder if I did not participate in a contest like this," Badud said in his house where he keeps 40 dogs. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Dog breeder Agus Badud washes his dog at his house in Cibiuk village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 27, 2017. Badud's dogs participate in fights against captured wild boars in contests, known locally as 'adu bagong' (boar fighting). "I take part in this contest to increase the selling price and economic value of my dogs, and it would be useless for me as a breeder if I did not participate in a contest like this," Badud said in his house where he keeps 40 dogs. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Dog breeder Agus Badud dries his dog at his house in Cibiuk village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 27, 2017. Badud's dogs participate in fights against captured wild boars in contests, known locally as 'adu bagong' (boar fighting). "I take part in this contest to increase the selling price and economic value of my dogs, and it would be useless for me as a breeder if I did not participate in a contest like this," Badud said in his house where he keeps 40 dogs. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A young man and woman play with their smartphones in a corner where they are able to get signal in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
High-school students ride motorcycles after finishing classes at school in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Dog breeder Agus Badud's wife and daughter wash dogs at their house at Cibiuk village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 27, 2017. Badud's dogs participate in fights against captured wild boars in contests, known locally as 'adu bagong' (boar fighting). "I take part in this contest to increase the selling price and economic value of my dogs, and it would be useless for me as a breeder if I did not participate in a contest like this," Badud said in his house where he keeps 40 dogs. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Dog breeder Agus Badud's daughter carries a dog to wash him at their house in Cibiuk village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 27, 2017. Badud's dogs participate in fights against captured wild boars in contests, known locally as 'adu bagong' (boar fighting). "I take part in this contest to increase the selling price and economic value of my dogs, and it would be useless for me as a breeder if I did not participate in a contest like this," Badud said in his house where he keeps 40 dogs. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Entin (L) holds her son as she shares some family time with her husband in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A Muslim student holds a book in a class at a school in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A dog-handler cleans blood from his dog which bit a boar in a fight during a contest, known locally as 'adu bagong' (boar fighting), in Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta SEARCH "BOAR FIGHT" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
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"It used to be very simple, not like now when the dogs are trained," said Nur Hadi, head of Hiparu, a group of hunting dog enthusiasts that takes part in the fights.

"From there it's been handed down and has even become part of tradition and culture," Hadi told Reuters.

He defends the practice against criticism from animal rights groups, who say it should be banned.

"It is a criminal act against animals," said Indonesian animal rights activist Marison Guciano.

"The government and NGOs should go to the field to stop this event and educate the people that dog fighting is not right."

The fights take place in a 50-ft x 100-ft arena surrounded by a bamboo fence to protect spectators, and only end when one of the animals is injured.

Participants say the contests test the agility and hunting abilities of the dogs. If a boar survives a fight, once healed it will be returned to the arena to fight another day. If not, it will be butchered and sold for meat.

Dog breeder Agus Badud says the tradition also gives people a source of income.

"I take part in this contest to increase the selling price and economic value of my dogs, and it would be useless for me as a breeder if I did not participate in a contest like this," Badud said in his house where he keeps 40 dogs.

Dog owners pay anywhere from $15 to $150 to enter the fights, depending on the size of their dog.

(Reporting by Tommy Ardiansyah and Johan Purnomo; Writing by Fergus Jensen; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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