Friday, 25 September 2015


Strange things occur in the Forest of Dean, and this week is no exception.  A wild boar head has was discovered - nailed to a tree.  Discovered, allegedly, by animal rights personnel.

(Addendum - contrary to what we were informed by The Citizen newspaper, hunt saboteurs have contacted us to say the head was found by a local resident and her child whilst walking the dog.)

Friends of the Boar were contacted by The Forester for comment, which went like this:

Dear George [Henderson],

Attached are 3 images for you.

Earlier this year I witnessed an organised dog hunt with an FC ranger.  This practice has been ongoing for maybe 2 years now.  Heads of deer are placed in cages somewhere in the public forest estate.  Dogs are then trained to scent the carcass and find it, somewhat like drag hunting for foxhounds.

Friends of the Boar have been alerted in the past by members of the public have been alarmed when finding such horrendous sights as a head of an animal in a cage.

Friends of the Boar know that the FC have been laying out dead deer for the wild boar at high chairs for many years now too, enticing the boar so they get shot.  One such deer was photographed and became an embarassment for Defra and Forestry Research, who blamed it on a researcher who should have known better.  This was when DEFRA were using remote trail cams to study the effectiveness of non-species-specific-contraception delivery devices spaced around the forest in about 2009. 

Meat left like this can be sources of disease which can be eaten by boar and spread to humans who eat the meat.

The images I send you are from 2013.  I have been told by a reputable source close to the FC that this was done by Forestry Commission rangers, who regularly take heads of boar to either use for dog hunts, or make a skull from by boiling off the flesh, and/or sell to trophy dealers.

The men in the images were a film crew for BBC Springwatch who I was showing around.  The gash to the stomach was to prevent gas bloating and to allow quick access to the carcass by scavangers such as the boar or foxes.

Please copyright the images with ©David J Slater

All the best,

Friends of the Boar

The final story was published in the Gloucester Citizen paper and went like this:

The head of a wild boar has been found nailed to a tree in the Forest of Dean.
It has been found nailed to a tree near Blakeney Hill Reservoir.
The head was put on a popular family trail, where people walk dogs, take their children for walks in the woods.
It has been reported to police and the Forestry Commission.
In response the Forest of Dean Wild Boar Cull Hunt Saboteurs have installed trail cameras at popular spots.

Here's the link: Boar Head Found

For 4 years, this has been an all too common result of the Forest of Deam local press refusing to criticise the government stooges at Bank House in Coleford.  They link the event to animal rights groups instead, without further elaboration.

Friends of the Boar supplied 3 images of a male boar that had been decapitated by Forestry Commission rangers to The Forester.  Here are two of them:

BBC Springwatch witness the decapitated boar as friends of the Boar make enquries.
Gruesome - but you need to know what the Forestry Commission under
Wildlife Manager Ian Harvey do to the boar.
Forestry Commission rangers have been known to use pet dogs to scent down wild boar.  Dogs are used across Europe as weapons against the boar, as our last post highlighted.

The Forestry Commission help hunting dog enthusiasts to hone their scenting skills, originally to hunt down deer, and now we believe to hunt boar.

Please register your complaint to your local MP, and if you live in the Forest of Dean send your concerns to Mark Harper MP.  We understand very few people will do this, but please be brave and stand out from the crowd, and do what you can to stop the Forestry Commission from continuing this disturbing practice within the Public Forest estate where your children may walk with innocent smiles.

Thursday, 3 September 2015


Last month, on the 9th August 2015, the newspaper Corriere della Sera reported on a story about a 77 year old man, Salvatore Rinaudo, taking his dogs for a walk.  His wife heard the dogs barking at some Wild Boar and then the Wild Boar attacked the dogs.  The man tried to defend his dogs but was attacked himself.  Somehow, his wife was able to run to the scene to help only to suffer some minor injuries herself, with some reports saying she was in her house when she saw the attack.  The injuries he sustained resulted in his tragic death.

We have tried to get more information about this story but have failed.  British newspapers also seem unable to get more information, repeating only what is told in Corriera della Sera.  As usual, The Daily Mail embellish the bit about the wife being at home, suggesting the attack took place on their doorstep (they must live in the woods).

The Sun
The Telegraph
The Times
The Daily Mail

The local Sicilian authorities, including the Forestry department, appear to be taking this all in their stride, despite protests from the Mayor of Cefalu, Rosario Lapunzina and the Mayor of  Pollina, Magda Cullota.   They accuse the Forestry department of not acting earlier to manage the boar, and now appear to be suggesting a criminal manslaughter investigation be opened.  Obviously someone wishes the Forestry department to be held accountable and charged with this man's death!

Italy has an estimated Wild Boar population of between 600,000 and 1,000,000.  It is a cultural icon giving Italians both meat and hunting.  It is the same in Germany where Boar are now becoming a problem and have been entering cities like Berlin for many years to escape the hunters and take easy handouts from people who feed them.

Reading the comments in the Corriera della Sera, we appear to agree with most of them.  Commentators repeatedly say that it is the HUNTING that CREATES the problem.  Here's a few:

1.  You are one of those who does not understand that hunting is the cause of the problem and not the solution? I think so. In boars already they are hunted even outside the hunting season .. 
2.  But so far with hunting they have contributed to the proliferation of wild boars.
3.  Yes, but if you allow the boar meat I eat it instead of giving it to the poor children ... Then maybe you have not yet figured out that the problem are the hunters who want to be able to hunt wild boar supernumerary ... Already, however, the boar is hunted even outside of the normal hunting season, so what you hope is already the case 
4.  Finally someone SAYS HOW THINGS ARE. Do not you realize that the hunting world only care that the wild boar and there is always plenty? Who do you think has spread everywhere the boar? ...As long as you stick to the guns, it will always get worse, as has been so far. It's not about being animal rights, it is a matter of ecology, science and common sense. 
5.  In Italy there are 1Million boars and 7Million dogs. The latter are seen and heard everywhere. Moreover, these pets each year cause many more attacks on people and victims than any other animal.

 Interestingly, we learn from these commentators that wild boar are now being hunted all year round, with no safe period offered in a "closed season".

Furthermore, hunting year round and without any scientific method as to which animals should be "culled", animals such as wild boar (along with humans, foxes, rats, rabbits and many more) will begin reproducing even more, making the initial population increase in the longer term.

Friends of the Boar fought hard to get our Forestry Department to realise the sense of this, but it seems that fear and bloodlust can defeat common sense and ecology, and make matters worse by reverting to hunting year round.

Commentator #5 makes the pertinent observation about dogs being the number one animal that causes more injuries and deaths of people each year.  So again, we need a sense of perspective too rather than any knee jerk reaction and call to kill the wild boar.  So crazed are some hunters and mayors of Italy, they are now wishing to see the extermination of indigenous Brown Bears too!  Bears must die because of the Wild Boar!!!

But as a final food for thought on all this, we ask the question of just what was Salvatore Rinaudo doing to get so badly injured?  Where his injuries as terrible as we are led to believe even, because sometimes a minor cut which gets infected can kill an elderly man who maybe was suffering from other health issues?  Was Salvatore a hunter?  He was 77 years old and, given Italian culture and the fact he was living in the woods alongside the boar, was likely to have some persuasions for hunting.

Another commenter ("Newgreen") in Corriere della Sera claims this:

It was a couple with puppies and dogs, but evidently not pet dogs but hunting dogs.  When wild boar attacked them he reacted to defend the pups. When the owner reacted to defend them, he got hurt too. We must remember that the house of the unfortunate victim was close to a forest that is also the nature reserve and wild boars attack only for defense and that the problems of Sicily and certainly not the wild boars!

If he wasn't a hunter, he was the first innocent bystander in history to have been even injured, let alone killed, by a wild boar.  Hunters and their dogs commonly abuse and intimidate wild animals such as boar, especially with dogs.

Here is just a small sample of videos of what we think you should know about hunters with dogs:

Pet dogs and their owner terrorising a wild boar (what if owner intervened?)

Hunters proud to set dogs on Wild Boar - some nasty injuries sustained

Owners of two pet Alsatians happy for them to intimidate Wild Boar in a Forest - could this be Salvatore's home?

More pet dog owners laugh at antics of little dog chasing wild boar!

These stupid people will very quickly call for the death of all wild boar if their dogs get killed.  They will petition the mayor of their town, claiming it is only a matter of time until someone gets killed!

Who else should be on trial in court in Sicily for manslaughter - for the killing of an Italian Pensioner whilst taking out his dogs for a walk?

Answer:  Irresponsible dog owners on these videos and the hunters.  That is who.  They ARE INDIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF SALVATORE RINAUDO.

And this is why many people in the Forest of Dean will do everything they can to stop unecessary killing (culling) of the wild boar.  We are continuosly kept from the truth about the boar, their importance to the ecosystem, our culture and their true behaviour.  The fight to stop you getting injured by a boar because of stupid dog owners and irresponsible hunters.

Animal Activists Vow to Stop Planned Wild Boar Cull in Forest of Dean.

Here is the original story in Corriere della Sera:

Here is the translation:

Elderly couple were attacked by some wild boar while they were at Cefalu, near Palermo. Salvatore Rinaudo, 77, died. His wife Rose, 73, was hospitalized for wounds. The two were at their home in the countryside between the districts Ferla and Mollo, in the hills a few kilometers from the town when he called for help. He was trying to save the dogs, "My husband came out with the dogs for a walk this morning. I saw that he had stopped because the dogs began to bark in a group of wild boars. " This is the story of Rosa Rinaudo, who spoke with investigators to try to reconstruct when successful. Salvatore Rinaudo has tried to put the dogs to safety, but he was attacked by a pack of wild boars and fell. While animals continued to load his wife stepped in to defend it and to drag it into the house, but was in turn attacked. Suffered injuries all over the body, but not in a serious condition (she was given a prognosis of 15 days). "My husband tried to save the dogs," she added, "but the boar jumped on him. I try to recover the body I went outside but as I tried to take him into the house I was attacked too. There are no words to describe what I saw. We are devastated. " 
The alarm of Mayors 
For some time the mayors of the municipalities of the Madonie indicate risks due to the increasing number of wild boars in the territory. "Many times it has been reported the danger of wild boars and there's also been called a campaign for controlled killing, but it was never adopted in any measure," says the mayor of Cefalu, Rosario Lapunzina. "We are shocked and deeply saddened by what happened, but also very angry because this is a tragedy waiting to happen." "For over a year we have made a request to the Region because the phenomenon has grown, and we expected that something serious could happen," adds Magda Culotta, mayor of Pollina. "Ours is a cry of alarm because, as we stand in an area of ​​the park, is the region that has to act. We had many meetings with the departments of Agriculture and Land, the park authority, the prefect, but still nothing concrete has been done. Hopefully after this tragedy, things move quickly," concluded the mayor of Pollina.