Last year I spent a weekend in the Forest of Dean. The big draw was the prospect of seeing the wild boar that have intermittently been hitting the wildlife headlines. As a nature watcher, I hoped for even a fleeting glimpse of one. As a journalist, I wanted to understand why they attract condemnation from some quarters. Our sighting was courtesy of an excited couple who’d just seen some boar down a fork off the main footpath. A family group were rootling under a sweet chestnut tree. We watched from a few hundred metres, but even at that distance they looked intimidating. The sow was huge and solid – more than capable of knocking someone off their feet, or causing a serious traffic accident. The rate they churned up the ground highlighted another reason for their unpopularity. After they trotted further into the woods they left the forest floor looking like it had been rotavated.
Whether boar should be controlled, or eradicated, is discussed on pp86 but, whatever the rights and wrongs, I will say that my encounter with them was thrilling.
Sheena Harvey Editor sheena.har[email protected]mediate.co.uk