Gloucestershire

Wild boar cull on target, Forestry Commission says

Wild boar Image copyright PA
Image caption So far more than 361 boar have been shot by marksmen employed by the Forestry Commission

The Forestry Commission has said it is on target to cull 575 wild boar by Easter in the Forest of Dean.

During 2014/15, marksmen shot 361 boar and the agency has said this figure was exceeded by Christmas, making the cull on course to achieve the yearly target.

Deputy surveyor, Kevin Stannard said: "We started the cull in September, by Christmas we had exceeded the cull from the previous year."

In 2015 thermal imaging surveys estimated 1,000 wild boar in the area.

Wild boar living in the Forest of Dean can cause damage while foraging for food.

There can also be a danger, particularly to dog walkers and riders, as they can charge, especially when protecting their young.

But there are no plans to eradicate them, just to manage the numbers.

"It is impossible to get an accurate figure of the wild population over a large area.

"They move, they hide. Feral wild boar don't hold territories so they are constantly moving around the forest, moving out on to agricultural land, moving into the villages," said Mr Stannard.

He said the thermal imaging technique nevertheless indicated the population was increasing.

Although the Forestry Commission carries out annual culls, it has repeated its warning that it is only responsible for culling boar on Crown land.

If the animals stray on to private land, it would be the landowner's responsibility to deal with them.

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