Wild Boar became extinct in Britain over 4oo years ago through habitat loss and extensive hunting. Since the early 1990s escaped or deliberately released farmed Wild Boar have re-established themselves in the wild in the South West. With no natural predator there were concerns over the population in the area as they soon made their presence known by rooting up farmland, woodlands, grass verges, as well as mating with domestic pigs and the occasional confrontation with domestic dogs, walkers and ramblers.
They soon gained the classification of a dangerous wild animal, a category that also includes Tasmanian devils, death adders and Brazilian wolf spiders. I can't help feeling that this is extreme as the Wild Boar is nocturnal and has become very shy in nature after being poached to near extinction. Like most animals, only when scared, or their young threatened, will they retaliate. Most animals given space will avoid conflict. Having wild animals teaches us both empathy and respect.
Nevertheless in the Forest of Dean a cull was introduced – 30 Boars the first year, 60 the second, 122 in 2011. After making this public, many poachers saw this as a free money pass, with no closed season for Boar, the same legal status as rabbits, pigeons and grey squirrels. Many poachers brag about shooting huge Boar, with good meat that people were crying out for. Locals have divided opinions. Some believe that they are remarkable, wonderful animals and that it's a great privilege to them, whereas others believe that it made using the forest dangerous and fear for themselves and pets. Most like myself are disgusted with the poachers, who every night carry out killing to order, taking all sizes and ages, lactating females with young piglets included, even picking up road kill. The police do nothing unless it involves someone being injured; poaching is not high on their list of priorities.
I can understand both points of view, those who are scared of attacks and those that wish to see the Wild Boar in Britain. What makes me angry is the government's lack of intervention and indecisive attitude. Rather than a question of money, we should seek a maintainable solution, whether it be educating the public (many other countries live happily alongside the Wild Boar) or keeping the population in check, stopping the inhumane poachers and enforcing the law.
Should they be hunted, should they be farmed, or should they be left alone or should we change our attitude and work with nature not against it? The answer it up to you! For me a nature lover, I hate to see any animal killed, and as we introduced the Wild Boar back into Britain, surely we have a responsibility to learn to live beside them.