23rd October 2012
End the boar war! say Forest of Dean residents
Friends of the Boar, Viva! and Animal Aid demand The Forestry Commission stop shooting wild boar
CAMPAIGNERS from both local group Friends of the Boar and national campaigning organisations Viva! and Animal Aid will gather near the Headquarters of The Forestry Commission in Coleford to ask for an end to the shooting of wild boar in the Forest of Dean. They will be expressing concern that population estimates are unreliable and the current shooting policy could lead to the boar vanishing from the area altogether.
Protestors will be peacefully gathering; holding eye-catching posters urging End the boar war! They will also be handing out leaflets asking other locals to back the Forests wild residents.
Friends of the Boar have gathered 2,268 signatures on an e-petition to The Forestry Commission asking for a moratorium on shooting for at least 12 months.
Robin Ward of Friends of the Boar and Cinderford resident says, Friends of the Boar have been campaigning for many years to see wild boar treated fairly in the Forest of Dean; to be given a chance at life and not persecuted. We strongly believe that not enough is being done to understand the boar, or to educate the general public about these amazing animals.
It simply boils down to a lack of understanding where the boar are concerned and Friends of the Boar are desperately trying to show that these creatures are not monsters, but very intelligent tight knit family units. We always have and always will support the fact that the boar belong in their natural home, the forest. However, if they feel their natural home is unsafe, what are they supposed to do and where are they supposed to go?
To cull 100 animals in 4 months without a true understanding of their total numbers is not wildlife management it is a massacre. We strongly urge the Forestry Commission to stop the cull immediately and re-evaluate their management policy.
Viva! campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell adds, We are backing calls from Friends of the Boar for an end to the persecution of these wild inhabitants of the Forest of Dean. Who dictates there are too many as it is still a relatively rare sight to see them? Far from being overrun, wild boar populations could be on a knife-edge and this misguided policy by the Forestry Commission could tip them towards extinction in the area.
Animal Aid's head of campaigns, Kate Fowler, also says, Boars are sensitive, secretive wild animals who deserve to be respected and cherished as part of the British landscape. Instead, a handful of heartless people appear to give greater importance to grass and bluebells than to the boars' right to live freely. If people really cannot tolerate forest-dwelling animals, why are they living in a forest?
Notes for editors:
In September of this year, the Forestry Commission announced that they would end a moratorium on shooting wild boar and aimed to kill 100 animals by January 2013. The cull is currently underway. This is despite agreeing to raise the Dean's target population from 90 boar to 400.
The Forestry Commission then suggested that the current population is around 600 and announced the commencement of shooting. The Friends of the Boar, Viva! and Animal Aid say that this figure is highly unreliable and the true figure could be 200 or less as sightings have become increasingly rare. The groups says that ways of assessing the exact population are unreliable and are concerned that the shooting policy could lead to localised extinction of the boar.
The groups believe that wild boar populations will stabilise by themselves and that the animals are an asset to the Forest by promoting biodiversity and attracting tourists to the area.
The boar were previously native to the region before being hunted to extinction in the middle ages.
Friends of the Boar: www.Friendsoftheboar.org
Animal Aid: www.animalaid.org.uk