Herds of wild boar at Longleat woods need culling says farmer

image copyrightPA
image captionThe wild boar were spotted near Warminster over the winter months

A farmer is calling for wild boar to be culled after spotting them in woods on the Longleat estate in Wiltshire.

He first saw up to five of the animals huddled together in December at Cannimore Woods near the Longleat safari park.

Farmer Michael Elce said: "They could quite easily kill a little dog. They are too near habitation."

The Longleat estate said it was aware of boars locally but did not believe current numbers posed a risk.

A spokesman added wardens were monitoring the situation to ensure there was no risk to users of the estate.

Mr Elce said boar could be dangerous, adding: "They could quite easily take somebody's finger off.

"They're worse when they've got piglets, the sows will charge at anything when they've got piglets."

image copyrightGoogle
image captionThe wild boars were spotted in woodland near Centerparcs and the Longleat Safari Park

Mr Elce said a cull was needed before numbers grew too high.

"Where I see them, it's only just across the A36 and they'll be in Warminster," he added.

Wild boar in Britain

  • The animals were extinct in the UK until the 1980s when it is thought some were able to escape or were illegally released from farms
  • The largest numbers of wild boar live in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, but populations have also been found in Kent, Dorset and Devon
  • Boar live in areas of woodland and are most active during the night
  • They live in groups called sounders

Source: Woodland Trust

Wildlife campaigner Matt Mellen said as the animals were shy, the risk of scavenging in Warminster was highly unlikely.

He opposed any idea of a cull, saying wild boar were positive for ecology.

"They root around and dig up tubers and open up forests so you get more butterflies and other tree species - they're a great addition to the ecology of a forest or woodland," he added.

Defra says it has no current plans for culls in Wiltshire and the responsibility of culling was with the landowner.

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