Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Wild Boar are now Promoted as a Visitor Attraction

Baby boar have overtaken celebrities and landscapes to be on the cover of the new Visitor Guide to the Forest of Dean. Two hoglets, playing in the leaves, by Ben Locke take pride of place and the new guide makes it clear that the boar are a unique tourist bonus for the Forest.

Council leader, Patrick Molyneux, says in “The Forester” that “ the aim of the brochure is to attract people to visit the area and spend money in the district. The Wild Boar have attracted a lot of attention to the Forest, including TV coverage from programmes like the BBC’s Autumnwatch.  This is a very striking image, which makes an excellent cover for our brochure and encourages people to look inside and discover more.”

In addition, Friends of the Boar have received a letter from Forestry Commission England in Bristol which makes it clear that the reprieve for the boar is specifically designed to allow the Council sufficient time to review the target of 90 animals and to make any new recommendations and changes they want.

Brian Mahony, the Director of Forest Enterprise England says

“ Our overall aim is to continue to manage a policy agreed by the Council and Verderers and we will work with these organisations to ensure that our approach is in line with what has been agreed.”

The new approach by the Forestry Commission is to be welcomed but since the Friends of the Boar believe that the Wild Boar in the Forest have been much depleted by Forestry Commission shooting, we hope that the Council will upwardly revise the number of boar allowed in the Forest by a significant amount.


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A Statement of Our Intent

The Friends of the Boar welcome the reprieve from culling given to our Wild Boar over the summer by the Forestry Commission at the meeting on 17th January 2012 between Councillors, the Forestry Commission and Friends of the Boar.

This will allow our existing boar to breed and settle. We do however believe that it will take several years to allow the herd to recover from the culling they have been subjected to.
We are extremely grateful to Councillors Hale, Edwards  and Quale and to the Council Environmental Officer for their concern for the boar. We think that their decision to consult with Verderers and possibly the public again and hopefully to upgrade considerably the number of boar allowed in the Forest, is a very positive one.

We do consider that the numbers of boar in the Forest have been considerably depleted by the Forestry Commission cull and that the Forestry Commission are still far over-estimating boar numbers. They have now conceded to the Council that there will be a period this summer when no cull will take place (until September) and that they will hold a public symposium on Wild Boar to discuss the future of the species in the Forest. They intend to invite experts and interested parties, including ourselves we hope.

During the summer we intend to continue convincing the people of the Forest that the boar do good and to build on what those ambassadors for their species, the Beechenhurst Six (as the celebrity black sow and her piglets are now known) have already done. They have attracted a great deal of public interest and shown that Wild Boar are interesting, friendly and non-aggressive to people, if they are not threatened.

Though the twelve-month reprieve is a considerable achievement, we are not complacent.

We hope that the Forestry Commission will allow recovery within the herd. In fact, the Forest will naturally only take a certain number of boar.  We do appreciate that some boar will still continue to move from the Forest onto farmland on the periphery, a situation we hope will be discussed at the Council meetings in the future.

In the Forest however they are wonderful animals and a returned species from centuries ago. They have delighted visitors this year, thus helping the tourist industry and bringing much needed revenue into the Forest,