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ALARGE wild boar has been spot­ted in Som­er­set – lead­ing to spec­u­la­tion that the West’s boom­ing pop­u­la­tion is spread­ing.

The feral pig was seen wan­der­ing the coun­try­side in Bru­ton by two stunned lo­cals.

Bri­tain’s big­gest pop­u­la­tion of wild boars is found 60 miles away in the For­est of Dean.

The an­i­mals there have raided wheelie bins, dug up lawns, at­tacked dogs and de­stroyed sports play­ing fields.

Ac­cord­ing to the Game and Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Trust there isn’t a con­firmed breed­ing pop­u­la­tion of boar in Som­er­set and it is a rare sight there.

Nev­er­the­less, the sight­ing sparked a frenzy on lo­cal Face­book groups.

The first post by Su­san Charl­ton on Mon­day said: “Be care­ful if walk­ing with dogs or chil­dren... not look­ing for­ward to meet­ing that with the horses!”

Ann Jenk­ins, who pho­tographed the wild an­i­mal, said: “It ran out in front of the car com­ing down the hill on Sun­day.”

A spokes­woman for the Som­er­set En­vi­ron­men­tal Records Cen­tre said it is rare to see a wild boar in the re­gion.

She said: “We cur­rently only have five records of wild boar in Som­er­set – the most re­cent be­ing from 2011 in North Brewham, which is not far at all from King Al­fred’s Tower.

“Our other records are from the Quan­tocks and Ex­moor.”

The spokes­woman added there may have been more boar in the area which had not been spot­ted, how­ever.

She said: “The low num­ber of records held by us does not mean they have not been recorded else­where.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Forestry Com­mis­sion, the wild boar pop­u­la­tion across the whole of the UK is dif­fi­cult to es­ti­mate but there are be­lieved to be 2,000 to 4,000.

A spokes­woman said: “The re­spon­si­bil­ity for manag­ing feral pig pop­u­la­tions lies with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and in­di­vid­ual landown­ers.”

The pow­er­ful an­i­mals are known to be at their most dan­ger­ous dur­ing their mat­ing sea­son, which typ­i­cally takes place be­tween November and Jan­uary.

But they are rarely ag­gres­sive to­wards hu­mans and are only a threat if an an­i­mal is cor­nered or if a sow senses her young are threat­ened.

In April this year, a group ran amok in a grave­yard in Cin­der­ford in the For­est of Dean, jump­ing over church­yard walls and dig­ging the ground around graves.

And in Jan­uary, dog walker Clive Lil­ley, 35, was left ter­ri­fied when one of the an­i­mals burst out of un­der­growth and bit off the tip of his fin­ger.

Boar are of­ten culled in other parts of the UK. The aver­age lit­ter con­tains five boar.

A woman who saw the boar in Som­er­set this week, who only wanted to be known as Heather, said: “Per­son­ally I don’t be­lieve in culling.

‘’They are a nat­u­ral beauty, though they are con­sid­ered dan­ger­ous. We are in their habi­tat.

“I hope some­one can help keep them safe.”

Ann Jenk­ins pho­tographed this boar at the side of a roadin Bru­ton, Som­er­set

It is rare to see a wild boar in the re­gion, says the Som­er­set En­vi­ron­men­tal Records Cen­tre

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