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The big debate: Wild boars in the Forest of Dean

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Jeremy Torrance web producer Jeremy Torrance web producer | 17:16 UK time, Friday, 7 October 2011

Culling of any animal is an emotive issue and wild boar are no exception.

Historically the Forest of Dean was a royal hunting ground. Wild boar were so popular at medieval banquets that they were hunted to extinction by the 13th century. Over the last few decades, however, the boar have reappeared in the forest by escaping from farms and illegal dumping. Their comeback, though welcomed by many, causing some controversy.

So what are the issues?

Many people love catching a glimpse of the boar but some, especially dog-walkers, are worried that they may be aggressive.

One of the biggest concerns is that they are prolific breeders. One sow can have up to 100 piglets in her lifetime. The forest provides a perfect habitat for the boar and they have thrived. As the population grew there was a public consultation and the Forestry Commission who are responsible for managing the forest introduced a cull.

The Forestry Commission has the difficult task of managing the needs of the boar with the needs of the users of the forest. The majority of people agree that a cull is necessary because there are no longer any natural predators but how do you know how many animals to kill when no-one is sure how big the population is? The Forestry Commission has just started a census to find out.

Not everyone believes the boar are being managed effectively. Local group The Friends of the Boar believe that boar are being culled at too high a level.

What do you think? Do you agree with the cull? Should the boar be let be? But if so what about the many, many people who enjoy the forest each year? Please post a comment below.

Watch Michaela's film on the Forest of Dean's wild boar from Autumnwatch.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Why does everything have to be culled?There must be some other way,it's just the easiest answer is KILL IT!
    How can we say we love all animals and then go on a culling spree!
    The boar has suffered enough.The forest was theirs in the 1st place,also i am sure in the 13th century humans and boars lived along side each other with no problems.
    Other programs have said they are a shy animal,so would hear a person coming and move on before it was discovered,i would imagine that a mother boar would protect her young if she had no other option!
    I disagree with the culling!!!!

  • Comment number 2.

    The answer to everything seems to be culling now, first deer due to large numbers, then badgers due to TB and now Wild Boar? This is a strange method of dealing with the issue as people have been so keen to see them return, they have lived in the forest longer than mankind.
    Most animals have a potential to be aggressive, especially to dogs, because they have an instinct to protect their young, we don't go around culling cows because they protect their calves.
    Just to be controversial, if people have such a problem with animals being 'aggressive' and being too many in number has anybody cared to look at the human race? We're having a much more detrimental affect on the planet and to each other than any animals. Perhaps the true answer would be to cull the human race?

  • Comment number 3.

    Easy - keep your dog on a lead; that way lots of other wildlife will benefit from the reduced disturbance too. There must be loads of other less sensitive areas dogs can let free to run about.

  • Comment number 4.

    They may be prolific breaders but surely the population will only expand to the size of the area which sustains it. I don't agree with the idea of a cull.

  • Comment number 5.

    Contraryto popular opinion if you leave animals such as deer and boar unchecked they will eventually die out due to disease, illness and eating themselves out of house and home, within a 10 year period in some circumstances. When there were predators they would take the sick, lame, old and lazy.Generally these would be the animals that are culled out of any herd leaving a good, healthy blood stock!

  • Comment number 6.

    Our dog started acting strange and very nervy whilst we were walking in the Forest Of Dean. We looked in the bushes to see what had spooked him and we startled a boar. The boar ran one way and we ran the other, I don't know who was more spooked, but we were so glad to see it. I don't believe they should be heavily culled, although I appreciate they may need some control as they don't have any natural predators anymore. I think they are part of the Forest now and hopefully here to stay. Also I would think most dogs would have the sense to run away. My dog certainly kept closer to us after that(which is unusual for a GSP) and you could tell he was picking up their scent. Ali & Chris

  • Comment number 7.

    I love those boars. Dont let them be Damned like the superb badger.

  • Comment number 8.

    I'm just watching the programme now and I disagree with the cull. I cannot fathom why humans have to tamper with everything. These animals were made extinct by humans and we feel the need to intervene yet again to control a species in their natural habitat. I believe nature will out and that they are 'meant' to be in the forest.
    PS, keep your dog on a lead if you're worried.

  • Comment number 9.

    Why not just reintroduce some wolfs ?

    Then you've not got a problem controlling the boar numbers, just the NIMBYS who'll be worried about Mr and Mrs wolf eating their stupid cat, which has been chewing down on the bird life !

  • Comment number 10.

    I think that the presenters are right. As soon as any of our wildlife gets too big or a threat to livestock, we just decide to kill it! How about for once we give our beautiful british wildlife- which I personally am so proud of- their right to live alongside us? People in India and pretty much everywhere else in the world live with big cats, bears, dragons and much more dangerous but beautiful animals, so why cant we?

  • Comment number 11.

    don't cull the boar (except for the table under limited license to local butchers), but teach the UK public how to share the land. We are far too coddled in this country, everything, including the environment, has been sanitised into uselessness. We need to learn to accept risk again, and accept the odd scrape, cut, bruise and bite and that we are merely another species sharing the land. Dog walkers should learn to control their dogs, nearly all problems with dogs are due to poor owner control.

  • Comment number 12.

    I watched the programme, and understand that they're nocturnal normally. How many people walk their dogs in the middle of the night, I wonder? Surely then the likelihood of a dog/boar altercation is reduced.
    I understand the worry that the population can suddenly sky-rocket, but just doing a cull every now and then is wasteful if you ask me. Maybe allow farmers/hunters in areas with high numbers of boars a yearly/seasonal quota so that the numbers are kept under control and we can have seasonal, native meat! Although personally, I feel the apparent good they do for the environment more than justifies their presence. But then again, I'm something of a green nut xD

  • Comment number 13.

    If we are the only country in Europe without predatory large mammal, please can you identify what is lurking out there in France (where I live)??

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi, I now live in the mountains of Japan. It is boar heaven, and I have seen, heard, and seen the effects of boar. I lost most of the autumn bulbs I had planted overnight, but they are an asset to the forest - no doubt. Their foraging helps the spread of plants, biodiversity and its is just lovely to have them there. Of course they can be aggressive, especially with young, but just exercise caution. If you have plants and gardens with prized plants, get some boar-proof fencing, mesh buried at least a foot underground. There is something medieval about the boar and having them is a real treat. If there numbers are too great, by all means cull, but it's better to have them than not.

  • Comment number 15.

    There are so many benefits from having wild boar compared to the disadvantages. I think it is brilliant at a time when so many animals are being hunted to extinction, or being driven from their natural habitat because of man, that this animal is thriving.

    It shows the true resilience of the breed that they are now prospering when they were once hunted to extinction.

    We should appreciate the nature that God gave us and stop trying to censor what we do and don't want to thrive in the natural world.

  • Comment number 16.

    Leave them alone!

  • Comment number 17.

    I think it is sick and disgusting that anyone would consider culling these beautiful creatures. We finally have one of our native species released into the wild (whether planned or unplanned) and the human race has to jump to the solution of killing them! Before even knowing how many there even are!!? The whole thing is absurd!

    People didn't feel the need to cull eagles when they were released back into Scotland, so why should these poor creatures get the same treatment just because somebody didn't have the idea to put a fence around their gardens!

    It has just been said on autumn watch that they are cruitial for the eco system of the forest. I think it would be foolish to cull them off without giving this species the chance they deserve.

  • Comment number 18.

    @Honest_mistakes #9
    Maybe the wolves can be persuaded to cull the NIMBYs, I know which one is the bigger pest. And I've never seen a wolf campaign for years to have a vital local service removed because it spoils the view from their garden. Viva la Wolves!

  • Comment number 19.

    We live in the Forest of Dean and have had wonderful encounters with the boar, we love having the boar in the woods and it is fantastic for the woodland biodiversity. We accept some management may be necessary, however there is an anti-boar faction which is supported by the local press (headlines such as 'wild boar rampage through forest' is not uncommon) and local politicians trying to gain support for an unnecessary cull. As our population grows we must all try to learn to live with the wildlife that lives around us without destroying it, and that includes the boar.

  • Comment number 20.

    These animals like others were here long before we were. We build build build where do the gov. think these animals are going to go. and why should there be less of them...Less of humans .....not saying cull humans...but come on....birth control :)

  • Comment number 21.

    I agree with culling in some circumstances, but this isn't one of them, especially if they dont know the numbers and there is no evidence of the boar harming the habitat or threatening another speices!

    Have they thought about letting people hunt them again at cirtain times of year? Like we do with deer and wildfowl? Surley a better answer then randomly killling them.

  • Comment number 22.

    We are lucky enough to have boar in our woods in Sussex. They sleep in the dense undergrowth by our garden gate and just lie still and blink at us as we go in and out. Our dogs take no notice whatsoever. All the time they don't trouble us we see no need to trouble them. A suggestion to those who have them messing up their gardens - improve your fencing rather than reaching for a gun.

  • Comment number 23.

    If the Boar are a risk to public safety, or destroying private land due to high numbers then a culling my be necessary, but a accurate survey needs to be done prior to get the best picture of the situation. The problem is we no longer have any of their natural predators such as wolves, so their numbers wont be controlled naturally. I think as a nation we have become comfortable in the knowledge that their are no animals big enough for us to give a second thought to, so the increase in such a large animal makes people feel concerned.

  • Comment number 24.

    I understand that population control is necessary in this country due to the lack of larger predators such as bears and wolves who would naturally keep populations under control. I would personally love to see wolves and black bears back in this country which would reduce the amount of necessary culling.

  • Comment number 25.

    i don't agree with culling any animal. can we not have a hunting season. depending on the time of year the boars mate, and have their young. then use the meat, don't just kill for the sake of it. use their meat and skin. why can we not use natures store, and treat the animals with respect, for don't just kill for the sake of it. and don't waste the products from the hunt.

  • Comment number 26.

    Instead of culling, why not relocate to other UK forests?

  • Comment number 27.

    I agree with Chris and Michaela that we have become afraid of the larger animals such as the Boar in the forest of Dean. Why? Animals such as Boars, Bears, Wolves and Beavers were around long before us!!! They're only missing in this country because of the normal human interaction with nature, that if we don't like it around or like the taste of its flesh we hunt it and kill it without mercy!!! If you want to cull the Boar at least carry out the survey first as if the population is far less than what they believe there is we could be yet again pushing them to the verge of extinction!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    Why not allow hunting with a limit on sex/age/numbers. This reduces the cost of the cull and allows finance raised from licenses to be ploughed back and also attracts tourist/hunter cash into the local economy?

  • Comment number 29.

    We walk (with a dog, off the lead) in the Forest of Dean, on most days. In the last 3 weeks we have seen a number of groups of boar, during the day, in the picnic areas, car parks and paths. More boar, in fact than we have seen in the 8 or so years since they were first released there. So they are not put off by by the presence of human beings and are not purely nocturnal. Moreover, in order to get good photos and videos to show on YouTube, some people feed the boars from cars, thus making them associate cars with food.

  • Comment number 30.

    Wild boar are awesome and I would love to see them introduced in all protected forests and woodlands. In a world where we are losing so many wild animals we should embrace the ones we have.

  • Comment number 31.

    I think it is only a good thing that a once abundant native species is making a comeback after being wiped out by man. I understand the reason behind culling, I work with deer in Scotland, and since there are no natural predators left (again because of humans) it is unfortunately necessary to manage populations. I think people have to understand animals like the boar, stop worrying about aggression and embrace them in their natural habitat where they belong. I understand that the forest of Dean is used hugely by people but enjoy the nature, learn about the species there and live in harmony with them!!!

  • Comment number 32.

    All you need to do is see the boar wild in the forest, as we did last week at Cannop ponds, and you get your answer. Wild and wonderful with not a care in the world. What gives us the right to interfere?

  • Comment number 33.

    I entirely agree that a lot of people in this country don't know how to deal with the concept of potentially dangerous animals in this country - there have been articles around recently with people suggesting culling Red Kites or Sea Eagles on the vague offchance they might attack children! While Wild boar are definitly more potentially dangerous that raptors, as long as people behave sensibly where they are present, there should be no danger whatsoever.

  • Comment number 34.

    Here in Holland we have the same issue. Our largest National Park is home to a large population of Wild boar that do cause some trouble in traffic, dig up golf courses and wreak all sorts of havoc. There is an ongoing discussion whether to cull or not.

    On an other note. Contrary to what Chris said in the show, UK is not the only country in Europe without large predators. We may have had one possible sighting of a wolf earlier this summer, but that does not count.

  • Comment number 35.

    It's about time these once indigenous animals have been re introduced. Hopefully one day wolves could also be re introduced.

  • Comment number 36.

    Time to put them back on the menu.

  • Comment number 37.

    Er, we do have large predators in this country. Us. And I for one think those boars look yummy.

  • Comment number 38.

    These animals add diversity, also nourish the forest and naturally manage it.
    Leave them, let them be permanent residents in our woodlands.
    We should be proud of them,

  • Comment number 39.

    Why is it necessary for us to cull these boar. Their natural habitat is the woodlands. We do not live in the woods we live in houses and we choose to visit the woods. It's not as if the woodland is over-run by boar! There are plenty of other woods or parkland where dog walkers can go. How many dogs a year are killed by wild boar? Animals are killed every week by cars but we don't ban cars!!

  • Comment number 40.

    Why do we as intelligent humans??? Decide to cull, many beautiful animals. If the Boar are so few all over this country and probably others, why can't they be caught when appropriate and sent to other forests and countries with forests to help them improve them. Why do we as humans have to kill, what ever some seems to think are in the way. Bargers were the last to have this death sentence, if humans had kept the testing on the cattle, there would not have been the need. What will be next??

  • Comment number 41.

    Perhaps "they" could introduce a few wolves into the forest of Dean...or maybe a tiger or two even things out naturally. Daddy and daughter Bethany rose age 8

  • Comment number 42.

    Having lived in Liguria for a good few years, we learned to live with Wild Boar churning up our land. Although they are more destructive than people realise, I always figured that they were there before I was and it is not their fault that someone built a house on their mountain. That said, for 2 years on the run they ate our entire grape harvest overnight. More than a little irksome to say the least after all the work involved. I still loved seeing them. I think the debate to cull or not to cull is academic; the boar numbers WILL increase now they are here.

  • Comment number 43.

    As said on the show, we (the U.K.) are somewhat of a zoophobic nation, many people are happy to tell countries within Africa and Asia to preserve their potentially dangerous wildlife and just live with it. On the other hand, when the ball on the other foot and theres a small risk for us many people just won't accept it. The absence of Britains megafauna proves this, the grey wolf, eurasian lynx, brown bear, moose and to an extent wild boar and beaver. All these were native in Britain within the last 800 years and a few reintroductions of various species have being proposed and always turned down due to public opinion. A lynx reintroduction in Scotland would help control red deer numbers therefore saving money on culls and also open up eco tourism alot more but the concerns and oppositions are from farmers who may loose the odd sheep (which would be subsidised anyway and probably for more than what they are worth at market). Culling will end up taking place because according to those in authority, the public need to be kept safe even though no scientific study has been carried out to prove otherwise.

  • Comment number 44.

    We know that the forestry is already culling the boar, poachers are having their share, a few get involved with accidents with vehicles, i really dont think that we need an increase in the culling, lets leave them be. Ive had lots of close encounters with the boar, never felt threatened, you respect them , they will respect you, every encounter is just as magical as the first. We need them in the forest, just like hundreds of years ago!

  • Comment number 45.

    I think the Autumnwatch team made an excellent point about the fear we sometimes display towards species that apparently pose some kind of threat to humans and human activity. The boar seem to be having a purely beneficial impact on the forest ecosystem. It is always sad when humans are unprepared to make any kind of compromise with other species as regards our use of any natural habitat. Unlike subsistence farmers living and working in parts of the Indian subcontinent who may be driven to support the killing of a tiger in order to protect their livliehood, those using the Forest of Dean are not directly threatened by the boar and can surely learn to respect these animals. As pointed out by Chris, unlike the rest of Europe we no longer have any large predators in the UK and we seem to have lost all sense of perspective when we face a species we deem a threat.

  • Comment number 46.

    We lived in Spain was surrounded by forrest, wild boar was everywhere, never seen them in the daytime, and never a problem except in the night if you had nice flowers in the garden and a yappy dog, Spain had a controlled hunt once a year as we do with Deer and pheasant etc, Britaiin might need these wild boar in the future for the food chain, don't see where the problem is having them here in Britain, just seems natural to me, hope they are here to stay and be introduced in Scotland,

  • Comment number 47.

    Boars? Yes please!
    As said on the program we need to find out how many there are and find out what size population is good for the forest. Compensate farmers fairly for crops damaged by the boar (i believe this is what is done in germany). There arn't any natural preditors of the boars left so perhaps hunting could control the numbers and also pay for farmers compensation? Yum, wild boar sausages!

  • Comment number 48.

    I live in Beckley,East Sussex which has a large wild boar population.
    They are both in Beckley Woods,and in the large acreage of woodland behind our house,which stretches along behind the village.
    Apart from digging up our lawns(now stopped by fencing) we(and others in the village) have not experienced any trouble with them.
    Quite how someone thinks they breed at a prollific rate I can't see,or we would be overun,and we are not.
    I have seen them twice(in 12 years) both times late at night.They tend to keep themselves to themselves,and do not appear agressive,or troublesome.
    I rather like sharing my surroundings with such an impressive creature.

  • Comment number 49.

    Wild Boar are great, very entertaining animals to watch in the wild, many people are fearful of the animals but treated with respect they can give great pleasure. Some boar have strayed into local villages and towns so there are already signs of them out growing there natural habitat, so their numbers may need to be controlled for their own preservation, but this will be a sad day for most local people.

  • Comment number 50.

    I am completely made up to discover that Wild Boar are tramping around our woodlands, and would love it to be more wide spread across the country side! We have got to stop creating an environment that suits what we believe is safe, respect the country side and preserve our heritage. But I'm all for Wolves coming back too.... am I the mad one?? Also I have 2 young children that love rooting round the woods too, like the boars - lets not scare monger, but educate our children to live respectfully and harmoniously with our wildlife.

  • Comment number 51.

    People complain about Boar getting into their gardens, simple make sure your fences are secure and shut the gates. People complain the Boar attack their dogs when the people and dogs are walking in the forest, simple do what you are supposed, to keep your dog on a lead.

    I live in the forest I have no sympathy with those who want to cull the boar, we live in a Forest and the boar have more right to be here than we. It is humans that are the threat to all wild life. If you do not want animals to be around you and perhaps wander sometimes into your gardens then move to a city. Some people who claim to be Foresters complain bitterly about the loss of their ancient rights and traditions. Boar are part of that life keep all of it not just the bits you like. The truth is that most people in the forest are happy with the boar, local papers fuel the anti brigade by giving them loads of column inches, very few column inches for those who want to leave the boar and who do not support a cull. I think autumn watch is the first programme I have seen that explains how much good the boar do, thank you. and now Michaela is on autumn watch I shall definitley watch every programme

  • Comment number 52.

    Wild boar haven't been indigenous for centuries and they no longer have any natural predators. Leaving them to spread unchecked means that they will destroy the habitat they are in, harbour disease and sows with young will be aggressive. Just look at the situation in EU countries with large wild boar populations where awful diseases such as classical swine fever and foot and mouth disease are rife and uncontrollable. Not only is this bad for the boar but also severely affects the farmers trying to make a living who are banned from selling their pork! I have no problem with small maintained wild boar populations, but please can we look logically and sensibly at this issue and quit the stupid 'have to save everything' attitude!

  • Comment number 53.

    As I understand it, DEFRA announced an open season on wild boar last year, meaning they can be culled any time of the year. How can this be deemed ok to shoot sows with nursing piglets or sows in pig? Would it not be more sensible to introduce a season, similar to that of, say, the fallow deer, to help manage and control the wild boar numbers. This would also help to ensure public safety and ease the potential interuption to users wishing to enjoy the countryside. We have wild boar on our farm on the Kent/East Sussex border, and they are prolific throughout the forests of Kent. It is disturbing to see adult females culled, leaving a litter exposed. This would never be allowed with a deer herd and only a poacher would consider such an act, yet this is perfectly acceptable on one of the great indigenous animals of our island.

  • Comment number 54.

    Rather than culling them using human means, surely now would be a great time to introduce one of the Wild cat to the area and allow them to do the cull for us? I feel too much emphasis is placed on humans and where WE want to go, but I believe this would be an apt time to let the animals have a really really wild (show) time all by them selves - after all they have the rights to be alive in this world too! They could easily keep the numbers where they should be and they would have lived here many years ago before we wiped them out to put in glass tanks because they weren't tolerated!

    ps, where's Terry Nutkins?

  • Comment number 55.

    I think a lot of the problem with wild boar is that people seem to think they cause a huge amount of damage. However I carried out a study into this just last year while at university which showed that the majority of the boars foraging behaviour occures within a few meters of foot paths and road sides. As this is where people most often are, it gives the impression of a huge amount of damage as it is presumed by the general public that this is representative of the level of damage accross the whole forest. Incidentally my study was carried out over several months and I never once found the boar themselves. These are flight animals which would much rather avoid humans when they can than risk conflict. I would also like to point out that deer also cause a degree of damage to woodland and they vastly outnumber the boar.

  • Comment number 56.

    I am undecided on the need for a cull but my dogs and I have been chased by aggressive sows too often so now the Forest is a no-go area at dusk. They are a great attractant for tourists and locals alike but people must stop trying to feed them. I believe that they will become habituated to being fed by humans and there is a risk they will become uppity one day when they approach someone who does not feed them.

  • Comment number 57.

    In 2003, when i was a student at Canterbury College, Kent completing my HND Animal Management i had to write a dissertation. The subject i chose was 'free living wild boar in Britains woodlands - a public perspective'. I compiled a questionnaire and put it 400 people from different backgrounds. These included visitors to Wildwood Forest Park, parents at the local school, general public, students and visitors to my local pet shop. The results showed that the overall concerns were for public safety, but in general, with education, the public would like free living wild boar in their local woodlands providing numbers were controlled. Only 1.5% of the 400 people questioned called for total eradication. My dissertation covered many other aspects and if you wish further information, post a comment. I am currently undertaking a BSc Animal Science and need a subject for my final dissertation, could a wild boar public perception update be my subject? Let me know.

  • Comment number 58.

    Trying to count wild boar numbers in woodland is really a waste of time. The number of animals seen in no way relates to the total population. I am surprised the Forestry Commission are using this method, they gave it up with woodland deer years ago.

    The generally accepted method of determining whether a culling programme is working, and what effect it is having on the population is as follows:

    The number of sightings per visit are logged throughout a year, and at the end of the year an average number of sightings per visit is calculated. The same is done the following year, and the average number of sightings year on year are compared. If the number of sightings increases, it is possible that an increase in the cull might be necessary. If the average number of sightings decreases, the cull is having an effect. The base number is really a matter of conjecture. Is the damage, the number of road traffic accidents or the number of "close encounters" acceptable? If the answer is "Yes". the cull needs to maintain the population at about the current number. If however the answer is "No." the cull needs to exceed the annual population increase.

    It take a few years to get this right, but our deer management group has used this method successfully for woodland deer for over 10 years now, and we have a population of higher quality animals that do little damage as there is sufficient food in the woodland for them all the year round.

  • Comment number 59.

    If you want to have wild animals culling is the only way and that has nothing to do with loving animals or not. To the contrary, if you don't control the wild animal population you will end up having none of them. But first of all, it is simply too crowded on this island to have large populations of wild boar or any large animal. The farmers would hate to have them around, as - to contrary what has been said - they will destroy farmland and we have to have respect for that as that's our food supply. And the city dwellers would - let's be honest - not want them in your street or garden either. Besides, we would not want the same to happen to wild boars as to the foxes that due to urbanisation effect they are now eating the rests of our London garbage instead of eating a rabbit or two in the old days in a nice green forest. If you love wild animals and would like to have them in your back garden move to Sweden where there are plenty. There people don't go to the zoo to see wild animals. The hunting of them is highly regulated and only surplus hunting is allowed as how it should be. Everybody happy.

  • Comment number 60.

    Let's remember the boars were reintroduced by human intervention - whether deliberate or negligent. As a native species, they are now in an environment that is radically different from when they last roamed free. I'm in favour of conservation and management of habitats and species to minimise the damaging effects of human intervention. I can't see how culling can be justified without good reliable scientific data kn the population. I do know that wild boar tastes good - ironic that the now-wild population originates from farmed "wild" boar. If the population exceeds a sustainable level, strictly licenced hunting for food would be a better alternative to culling.

  • Comment number 61.

    I am a little sat on the fence with this one, i love the fact they thrive in our woodlands, and i want to see them happy in the environments, but with no natural predators surely its up to us to maintain the numbers? Like our ancestors we should have a week 'season' where a set number of boar is killed for the table, so not to be wasted. Other option is bring in one of its natural predators but most people would be scared to introduce such an animal into the country. The last thing i want to see is a wildboar on the side of the motorways dead (possibly causing a fatal accident) as the population has bust its natural boundaries and searching around for food. This is why we as a country should stop eating into green belt areas for more housing as the animals need it to thrive and maintain natural selection.

  • Comment number 62.

    Introduce them nationwide and re-introduce their predators. They will naturally control themselves population wise, and Britons can re-learn their proper respect for wild nature.

  • Comment number 63.

    I love autumn it's when the colours of world come to life. The late warm weather is great but now it's cold I am filling up my bird feeder.

  • Comment number 64.

    So what are the large predatory mammals that exist on the continent but not in UK?

  • Comment number 65.

    We have gone far too soft in the UK being scared of these lovely beasts of nature. The very nature we came from, surely we should embrace a native creature that that can improve our dwindling biodiversity? Come on England show us your metal!

  • Comment number 66.

    I have been observing along with lots of other people over recent weeks a mother Boar and her 6 piglets at Speech House Woods in the Forest of Dean they have been fascinating, however in the local paper a woman says she was also watching the Boar when a Forestry Commission van pulled up and a man with a gun and tripod went after the Boar. The Wild Creatures and Forst Laws Act 1971 under Statutary Rights and Customs says the Pannage Season for Pigs is 25th September - 22nd November, does this not prevent culling of the Boar especially during the said dates?

  • Comment number 67.

    Would neutering, as opposed to killing, be a more humane way of controlling population growth?

  • Comment number 68.

    Where do you get that lovely gold jacket?

  • Comment number 69.

    Would it be possible to re-distribute some of these lovely creatures to other areas of the UK which don't appear to have any/many. The New Forest for example, would this area benefit?

  • Comment number 70.

    The British are unique in their negative view of large animals and particularly predators. Many other countries seem to live quite happily with boar, lynx, bears and wolves. Boar are indigenous and therefore a natural component of a healthy woodloand ecosystem. The national population is way below what it would naturally be (even adjusted for loss of habitat over the centuries). Relocation to other forests would therefore be peferable to culling. And it should be human responsibility to take the necessary measures to protect land, crops, pet dogs.

  • Comment number 71.

    I feel very priviledged to live in the Forest of Dean and have the opportunity, on a daily basis, to see deer and wild boar whilst walking my well behaved dog. I have had several encounters with wild boar and have never felt threatened or scared. I simply call my dog to heel and enjoy the experience of observing these wonderful animals in their natural environment. I disagree with a cull because I believe the forest can only sustain so many boar and a natural balance will be established. What we don't need are misinformed people feeding and encouraging boar into the villages because nobody wants their gardens and playing fields damaged by them, left to their own devices they will stay in the forest and play their part in the local eco system. Please allow the boar to find their natural balance, I for one would like to continue to share the forest with these wonderful creatures and have the pleasure of seeing them surviving in this modern age.

  • Comment number 72.

    This programme is becoming too much about the presenters and not about the wildlife. Make your mind up, is it about the animals or the presenters?. Lets face it the young people you are trying to appeal to are out and about in the pubs and nightclubs. This programme is all about the family person. No wonder the bbc is in the state is it in. Stick to what you are good at!

  • Comment number 73.

    Wild Boar need to be controled or we will have the same problem they have now in Scotland with the Deer population

  • Comment number 74.

    I live in Normandy and wild boar (sanglier) have lived locally in the Forest of St Sever since time immemorial. They manage their numbers quite successfully and nobody here would see any need for culling. Maybe the odd ones come into gardens over winter but what's the problem?

    The local restaurants regularly feature "sanglier" on the menu which is as close as you are likely to get to predatory activity. The biggest danger are the hunters themselves! The season is September to February and I've seen the hunters in the bar before they go off to the woods (where anything is fair game) but of course it's more of a social activity than anything else.

    Maybe those people in the UK who see anything larger than a ginger Tom as a danger should pop over the Channel and chill out!

  • Comment number 75.

    I think we often show double standards. As a wealthy nation we, rightly, demand the protection of large animals in the 3rd world but the moment anything becomes the slightest problem we cull it. Even when the science is unclear,just like the boar and badger

  • Comment number 76.

    Culling is essential to maintain a healthy population. In Tuscany there are shops selling only boar products. It could be a source of income.

  • Comment number 77.

    @ROY #73 the only problem we have with deer up here is that the Govt. is dragging its feet with the wolf and lynx re-introduction. Once that goes ahead things will will swing into balance. No need for a cull, just to get some perspective about sharing with other mammals.

  • Comment number 78.

    Unfortunatly animals do what animals do and eventualy they will suffer from lack of space so to safeguard the animals culling may be the only answer, as long as it is done humainly, to me that is ok, with the by-product being a lovely tasty meat on the table.

  • Comment number 79.

    Culling wild boar is the way forward; boar have no wild predator in this country only man same as foxes and deer.This will keep disease levels down and stop interbreeding.It will stop damage to the woods and to farmers crops.This will be carried out buy fully trianed and licence marksmen.

  • Comment number 80.

    If we cull any animal, aren't we saying that our species has the right to decide what other species live on this planet? That somehow we are superior? That is why it is wrong - always!

  • Comment number 81.

    A very thought provoking piece on wild boar. For the life of me I cannot understand why so many people cannot get their heads around wildlife management. If you are a gardener you have an idea of what plants you want in your garden, to achieve this some species you prune back others you feed or remove. The aim is to create a balance where one species does not crowd or smother another. The same concept applies to animals, the countryside is a managed environment especially areas like the Forest of Dean and therefore we need to encourage some species and cull others, sometimes individual animals, the aim again to achieve a planned balance. If your neighbour took a laissez faire approach to their garden you might describe it as a wilderness, predominantly brambles and nettles to the detriment of other plants, whilst some people might welcome this most would not be happy. Why therefore do so many people want to apply the same logic to the countryside? Sustainable wildlife management is a balance which recognises the need for humane culling in some instances and in others habitat enhancement to encourage specific species. I recognise this requires a level of mature reflexion that some people have yet to achieve. I live in hope.

  • Comment number 82.

    I thought the presentation on the wild boar was very superficial. These creatures should not be culled as they will naturally control themselves within their environment. They have become secretive because they are being hunted. Any boar who becomes friendly with humans is likely to be shot in the Forest of Dean. No-one knows the exact numbers and the Forestry Commission is shooting blind. In fact, there are very few wild boar left in the Forest and the age range is getting younger - a sure sign of over-culling. Did you really only see three? They are being made to sound dangerous by the authorities, when they are not. No-one in the Forest has been attacked by a boar and they do a lot of good to the ecology of the Forest as you pointed out. They face a real danger from out top predator, man, in the shape of the Forestry Commission and poachers. We are an island and if the boar becomes extinct, short of swimming the Channel, they will not come back.

  • Comment number 83.

    I think it's great that Wild Boar are back in the forest!!! I walked there a few months ago but didn't see any signs......As far as being a threat to people, I think the clue is in the name.....Wild Boar!!!! As long as they're given a wide bearth when disturbed I don't see a problem with sharing our woodlands with them.
    I do believe that numbers need to be monitored and controlled. I think rather than a cull, the idea of a hunters license is a very good idea and could help they're long term survival.....if not for game shooting, how many pheasants would we have???
    I can certainly sympathise with local residents and feel that as ever, it's all about compromise........

  • Comment number 84.

    @79 that isn't an argument for culling, but an argument for the re-introduction of top predators like wolves and lynx so we can have a fully functioning eco-system again. Culling is a sign of a crippled eco-system missing those animals.

  • Comment number 85.

    No to culling as far as I am concerned.

  • Comment number 86.

    We should leave the boar alone - and the argument that they need culling because of a lack of predators is weak - we'll end up eating them. We'll also kill them with our cars and lorries - as we do with most other wildlife that gets in our way. Why have we become so obsessed with removing all perceived risks to human life? The more risks we remove then ever more mundane things become risks. We'll end up banning daffodils soon - probably because they'll be seen as a trip hazard.

  • Comment number 87.

    Bring on the wild boar, the beavers, the wolves and all the other indigenous animals that were living wild alongside humans in the past. They would naturally enhance and maintain the balance of nature and landscapes in all parts of the UK, given time, space, minimal management and above all tolerance from humans. Our previously and currently extinct mammals manage wild spaces beautifully and naturally without the need for tagging or extensive monitoring. We humans think we are so clever, we are so arrogant and controlling and we get it all so very wrong, ie., culling boar, culling deer, culling beavers because they are beginning to thrive in parts of Scotland where those 'in control' havn't spent a fortune re-introducing them. There is plenty of space for us all to live in this country with our wildlife and still be able to safely walk dogs, farm and cultivate crops etc. We need a massive change in our attitudes. If wolves were re-introduced in Scotland for instance, the deer would gradually learn to behave like they used to, move around (stop needing to be culled) and we would benefit by seeing, over time, a wonderful transformation of parts of the lanscape which would begin to grow and flourish naturally again.

  • Comment number 88.

    Humane culling of “game” species roaming wild (or at least feral), such as boar, deer or fowl, etc, should be permitted.
    The big proviso, however, is that there should be a foolproof system of ensuring a one-for-one reduction of factory farmed animals for the table.
    That is, every game animal that is culled must be culled humanely (with all that that entails) and every single one must displace a factory farmed animal. The practical way is to ensure that the culled animals go into the human food chain at the right price to achieve this.

  • Comment number 89.

    I have never seen wild boar and would love to; however too many people in this country seem to think that we should leave everything all the time. They have to remember that we live on a comparatively small and very people populated island, we do not generally have the large very wild spaces in our UK countries (Scotland does prob) like the wild places in France and Spain. Therefore there comes a time that some animals will have expanded their population so much that there is just not the room or the food for them. When this happens the populations become weaker and more prone to sickness and disease and will not generally be as strong. An good example of this is both Richmond and Bushey Parks just outside London. If the deer population was left to its own devices here they would soon over-run the parks, there would be an acute shortage of food and they would be constantly weakened and possibly trying to escape the Parks to forage. To keep any wild population healthy culls are necessary from time to time. After all many of the wild spaces and Parks were set up for hunting, but of couse this does not now happen to keep numbers down to manageable levels. If they are to be culled, it must be done by recognised registered hunters, and they must be sold sensibly through game butchers. This being said we should all bear in mind that both the boar and deer are WILD animals and should never be approached and dogs should definitely be kept on a lead and away from them, especially during the breeding seasons.

  • Comment number 90.

    A mixture of opinions here. An interesting discussion. The problem has been touched on in many posts. Man. The natural balance was maintaned before we interfered to protect our interests. Bring back some of these large predators and the balance will return. Oh, and take away guns as these can fall into the wrong hands easily.

  • Comment number 91.

    Now people are aware of yet another precious species under threat from idiotic humans who have NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE DOING brits WONT allow this without making a huge deal of it The conservative government have retarded so much in starting badger culls, to supposedly curb bovine tb (when Germany has loads of badgers and no tb at all!) deer culls, even hedgehogs and wallabys! Cameron and paice have their own agenda. What is needed is the introduction of the natural predators wiped out by men like wolves and maybe even bear yes! Theyd do a lot less harm than man, they KNOW what theyre doing and it ISNT meddling to keep people who have chosen to live in what initially was the animals natural home and habitat, in a cushy botherfree life. People are going to have to realise that the countryside they love, pay so much to live in or near and is so beautiful looks as stunning as it does because the animals keep it that way! Each with their own little clean up or gardening job, from the smallest bug to the BIGGEST BOAR!

  • Comment number 92.

    I am informed[correct me if i'm wrong] that Norway has introduced a cull of in excess of 22,000 wild boar because of the widespread damage done by these animals.The reporter stated that we have a potential problem in the U.K.,but with the "bunny hugging"propencity of the British public,little or no action will be taken.Curiously,many[if not all] anti-cullers would have no problem wiping out a wasp nest around their house,slugs in their garden,mice in their hut, rats in their garden, cockroaches in their kitchen,moths in their wardrobe, caterpillars on their cabbages etc,etc. If it doesn't affect me- you must not do it.When the forest of Dean becomes a no-go area for walkers, attitudes may change.

  • Comment number 93.

    Hi, once again the phobias are let loose. Unlike most of our neighbours we have none of our large wildlife left in the wild, and those we have are been persecuted like the "Badgers" and now the "Wild Boars". Maybe its time to cull more bores that inhabit out island!!! Its time we got back to learning to live with all of our wild life, and instead of culling then lets manage our precious island before we end up with nothing but "Zoo's"!!!

  • Comment number 94.

    I strongly disagree with culling the wild boar. The most overpopulated species is the human being which is also the species doing the most harm to our planet but we don't generally cull the human being! The boar has a right to live in it's natural habitat if we humans wish to invade that habitat it is up to us to protect our pets gardens etc. by fencing and keeping dogs on leads etc. When the human being learns to live in harmony with the natural world and not be obsessed about having total control then maybe we can achieve contentment.

  • Comment number 95.

    Richard Humphrey: In various parts of Europe, there are Grey Wolf, Brown Bear, Iberian Lynx, Eurasian Lynx, Wolverine and Golden Jackal. I'm not sure if there have ever been any reproted Lynx or Jackal attacks, but they certainly fall into the category of dangerous enough to kill pets or children should they be that way inclined - but, given that incident a few years ago where the papers had articles about a fox biting a baby you'd think we had tigers running around. Really, the most dangerous animals we have in this country are by a long long way a) humans and b) dogs.

  • Comment number 96.

    I think most people are hypocrites when they speak of culling. No animal in the world has made more change to the environment then humans. We have cut down forests, polluted landscapes and have brought extinction to entire species. There are still people in this world which believe that humans are more important then other animals, that other animals are tools and exist for our needs.
    It has never been more important to learn that we humans are animals too and we must learn too share the land and to stop thinking that we own and control the environment.

  • Comment number 97.

    Wild boars once roamed the forests of our country until like with so many other wonderful creatures, man stepped in and wiped them out. They are native to this country they are not an import, and like the beaver they belong here, they have a right to be here. Nature if left alone will balance things out, if ever there is a problem in this world you can guarantee that somewhere along the line man has intervened, meddled, plundered for his or her selfish benefit. These animals have reclaimed their place, they have proved that they can adapt to present day conditions and are thriving, so leave them alone. Killing, well isn't that what culling means, is not and should not be our only answer to the situation. Let nature sort itself out! Let them LIVE!

  • Comment number 98.

    I am totally against Culling. Theses animals are in their natural habitat and should be carefully protected along with the other species and enjoyed by the few lucky people to come accross them or live in the area.

    In the West Midlands all wildlife is being squeezed out and no one seems to care or do anything about it. The little protected places are ineffective and should be joined-up to ensure the future. People seem to be far removed from anything living other that other people now, and teach their children to swot anything that moves.

    No one will address the problem of the population explosion which means the days of our lovely creatures and the natural environment are numbered, so enjoy while you can, and if you don't like Wildlife why not live in a City Flat where there isn't any to bother you.

  • Comment number 99.

    Boar are natural agents of regeneration and maintain / increase biodiversity through their rooting creating clearings and their hooves opening up the soil. They should be part of a healthy forest. However, predators are required to keep their numbers in check. With no natural predators in the UK, their numbers should be culled to match that in forests with predators. This should be done humanely and with accurate information on their population. They are large and potentially destructive and dangerous animals, however with education / signage for walkers and strong fences for gardens, they can form the natural part of our forests that they always did and still do in much of Europe.

  • Comment number 100.

    Culling? Without any real evidence that they are too invasive? Anecdotes are not scientific. We do have a propensity in this country to like a good cull, regardless of what science tells us. Leave the boars and re-introduce wolves. Some (wolves) have made it into Belgium, I hear. Wonder how far they can swim????

 

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