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. Indeed, The Forestry Commission actually had trouble finding enough to kill (to satisfy their quota) despite saying that the boar needed to be ‘culled’. 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 make the ban on hunting boar in the Forest of Dean permanent:
Write: Tim Rollinson, Director General, Silvan House, 231 Corstophine Road, Edinburgh, EH2 7AT.
Telephone: 0131 3340303