Hunted: The Forest of Dean Wild Boar
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Each year in the Forest of Dean wild boar are being hunted and shot. They are blamed for everything from environmental degradation to aggression to other animals and humans. However, this is merely a smoke-screen for a disastrous and terminally misguided environmental policy.
The reality is that the boar – who were re-introduced to the region, but were native to it until they were previously hunted to extinction – have adapted well to a life in the Forest. Despite hysterical reports that the boar are breeding out-of-control, the fact remains that it is a rare sight to actually see boar in the Forest at all. Despite a recently bodged effort to count the boar no one really knows how many boar are there.
Indeed, The Forestry Commission previously had trouble finding enough to kill (to satisfy their quota) despite saying that the boar needed to be ‘culled’. In 2011, there was real concern that so many boar had been shot that they could have been made extinct in the Forest. As with all of nature, it will find a balance if left to do so. If population ever does become an issue – and we are not convinced that it is – then there are non-lethal methods that would be preferable – and ones that would not lead to orphaning (and slow death) of infant animals.
The ‘cull’ also has an unintended consequence. Encouraged by the trade in so-called ‘exotic meats’ poaching is on the rise. Indeed, one local councillor said that residents were more in danger of stray bullets than they were of the boar themselves. This illegal trade in boar meat also makes it impossible to ascertain a true population throughout the area.
Boars are actually for the most part gentle and inquisitive. In fact, some animal experts believe that this inquisitiveness has been mistaken for aggression – as boar are short-sighted and can run up to people to get a better look at them! Whilst it is true that some dogs have been killed by the boar, this regrettable fact has come from dogs not being kept on leashes (against the Forestry Commissions’ guidelines in the forest) and usually occurs when the female boar is nursing her young. Being respectful of the wild residents of the Forest of Dean should be enough to protect all of its visitors.
Many people in the Forest of Dean cherish the boar, and realise that they actually attract visitors to the area. For those that complain that the boar knock over their flowerbeds, can that really be reason enough to hunt and kill them every year?
Contact the Forestry Commission today!
Contact the Forestry Commission and ask them to stop hunting wild boar in the Forest of Dean:
Write: Forest of Dean Forestry Commission, Bank House, Bank Street, Coleford, Glos, GL16 8BA
Email: email@example.com (also cc in firstname.lastname@example.org)
Telephone: 01594 833057
"Dear Forestry Commission
I was horrified to hear that wild boar are due to be shot in the Forest of Dean.
Estimates put the number of boar in the Forest as low as 200. In reality no one knows because an accurate population survey has not been possible. By launching this 'cull' you could be halving the boars' numbers – or even worse pushing them towards extinction in the Forest. It is my understanding that shooting was suspended last year because of fears that numbers had plummeted to an unsustainable level. Have no lessons been learned?
I am especially concerned that the wild boar population has been under threat from two sides: 'culling' by the Forestry Commission and poaching (which is believed to be on the increase). How can quotas be set so high when nobody knows just how many boar there are in the Forest?
There are also some fallacies that continue to be perpetuated about wild boar. Experts have said that far from destroying the environment in the Forest, wild boar may actually benefit it. Verges actually re-seed themselves and wild boars are excellent seed dispersers. A scientific survey done in France has shown they can carry the seeds of 40 different plants in their fur and they actually rotivate the soil.
Obviously, it is deeply regrettable that dogs have been attacked. However, it is my understanding that the Forestry Commission encourages dog walkers to keep dogs on leads to prevent this happening. Keeping a respectful distance from boars should be enough to prevent confrontation. There is also the irony that this level of persecution and hunting in the Forest has aggravated what are for the most part gentle and inquisitive animals. Is it any wonder that they are distrustful of humans when the only contact some of them have is from the barrel of a gun?
Many people in the Forest of Dean cherish the boar, and realise that they actually attract visitors to the area. For those that complain that the boar knock over their flowerbeds, can that really been reason enough to hunt and kill them every year?
Please end the wholesale slaughter of wild boar permanently and adopt non-lethal methods of population control if it is proven that they are needed.
A new petition to the Government asking for 'culling' to be suspended for at least 12 months. Please sign it here.
A group has been set up in the Forest of Dean to promote the interests of the wild boar (both in the Forest and wider afield) to dispel misinformation about them. Visit www.ukwildboartrust.org for the latest news and some truly beautiful photographs of these secretive forest dwellers.