The recent scare over the sell-off of Britain's forests into private hands created a public outcry here in the Forest of Dean with protest marches occuring regularly. Many of the "action" groups, including Hands Off Our Forest (HOOF) got much of the attention, but few of this group could actually state the case well - just WHY is the Forest of Dean so special. Most quoted landscape, history or tradition, but amazingly to us, nobody quoted wildlife as the reason.
In recent weeks the wild boar are making themselves conspicuous again by roadside "mootings". It is the rut and the boar are on the move. It's a seasonal event and we predict all the usual press stories about how the boar are damaging gardens and picnic sites. It is so droll, and most of the criticism is coming from people who moved from a town, into the Forest, not realising there would be wildlife here! Sadly, people like to complain, and very few of us will write to the press with good stories. Please write your good stories!
So here is one.
We are glad to say that wellwishers are everywhere. A recent event (first week of September 2011) had a very young sow with six piglets visiting a local beauty spot and had residents and tourists alike smiling and wishing good health and future for the boar. They created an instant traffic jam as people rushed from their cars to take a photo. The energy and enthusiasm for the event was brilliant and heartwarming.
The boar pictured above are typically friendly. A very young sow, maybe just under a year old, has six very cute and amazingly friendly piglets at her side. She must be one of the youngest mothers ever experienced here in the Forest. Everyone was delighted to get so close to them. Even a child can be safe in their presence....(despite the fearmongering over the last 5 years)..
The potential for this family of boar to create a tourist attraction is tremendous. Please ignore the ridiculous hype about how dangerous these animals are. Here is photographic proof from early September 2011 to show you the FACTS.
But Friends of the Boar know all too well that this family will be easy pickings for the meat trade. By the meat trade, we mean the Forestry Commission, who have legal contracts to sell boar "venison" to private traders. If they fail to provide they will be sued. They also have a public relations commitment to achieve a cull target, decided by sticking a wet finger into the breeze and thinking of a number! (see blog entry below).
If you are appauled by the possibilty that the above sow and her adorable and extremely friendly piglets will be shot dead purely in order to fulfil legal contracts, and as a bit of sport by FC hunters, then please sign the petition for a closed season (below). Please please get in touch with us to add your name as a supporter of the wild boar here in the Forest of Dean and elsewhere around the country.