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Forestry Commission survey says wild boar “need culling”

The numbers of wild boar in the Forest of Dean are doubling every year, according to the Forestry Commission’s (FC) latest surveys.

A recent estimate shows there to be approximately 600 wild boar in the area, and they are causing considerable damage in search of food.

The FC is putting up a 4ft barrier around the Beechenhurst Lodge picnic area after it was churned up by the animals.

The fence will be 2,000m long and barbed to prevent the boar from burrowing under it.

According to the FC, the severe winter and the lack of nuts made the problem of damage from wild boar in the area worse.

Shooting Times spoke to Kevin Stannard, deputy surveyor for the FC, who explained that the local community was split in its opinion on whether the wild boar should be culled: “Half complains of the damage caused, particularly to local grasslands, such as football pitches, parks, commons and front gardens, however, an equal part believes that the wild boar should not be culled and that we should learn to live with them, and accept that as part of living in such a beautiful area.”

According to Mr Stannard, local farmers who have the correct firearms certificate are controlling them as part of limiting the damage they do to crops.

The FC sets cull targets every August, and FC staff then perform the cull between September and January.

While there is no close season on wild boar, the FC doesn’t cull during the rest of the year, as the autumn/winter season is more convenient.

Last year’s cull numbered 100, but Mr Stannard believes this year’s target should be higher: “Sows can have two litters every year, and the numbers are already high,” he said.

The cull in 2011/12 was 150, but after no consensus could be reached on the 2012/13 cull targets, an arbitrary decision was made.

Of the 100 culled, 22 were killed in road accidents, with the rest being shot.

Read more about Wild boar shooting in the UK.

Forestry Commission survey says wild boar “need culling”