The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)
Farmers fear effect of wild boar colony
ESCAPED WILD boar in Perthshire could start a feral colony, local farmers fear.
Eight of the animals went on the run from the Bamff Estate, near Alyth, in November after a storm felled trees, damaging fencing on their 50-acre enclosure.
It is feared that previous escapees have already been breeding and the latest fugitives will only add to the population running wild on the Alyth hills.
Farmer Michael Clarke, 39, said that nine wild boar have been shot this month alone.
Mr Clarke, who runs Balwhyme Farm, estimates that he has been personally responsible for shooting up to 30 of the beasts, which are worth £200 each, over the last seven years.
He says an established wild population of boar would have devastating consequences for both those working the land and the local wildlife.
He said: “Up here we have a lot of ground nesting birds and the boar eat the eggs and dig up our fields.
“Recently the wild boar broke down fences and proceed to plough our carefully managed grassland and crops, causing considerable physical and f inancial damage.
“In forests in places like Germany and Austria there’s no other wildlife bar wild boar because they eat absolutely everything in their paths.”
He added that it was difficult to know how many wild boar were on the loose.
“They are quite nervy animals so if you shoot one or two they move on,” he said.
“They need confidence to regularly root up a field. They might be there one night and then move on.”
Mosse Magnusson, of nearby Aberdormie Farm, said he had seen an explosion of feral wild boar in his native country.
The 58-year-old said: “I saw exactly the same situation in Sweden 10 years ago, when I saw the first signs of wild boar on my farm there.
“Even if we tried really hard to shoot everything, we didn’t have a chance.
“They destroyed the farm completely by pulling down the fences and digging the ground.
“Each sow can produce 12 to 15 piglets a year and if there’s two or three sows out there you could have seven females for next year and they’ll start breeding. “It goes really fast. “I think we are losing the battle because if you don’t shoot them all then they start breeding.”
Paul Ramsay, who owns the escaped animals, said that everything possible was being done to prevent the boar establishing themselves in the wild. In addition to authorising farmers to shoot the beasts, he has been trying to round them up.
He said: “I’m hoping we’re going to be able to capture them in traps. We are looking for fresh signs, and have put out some potatoes to try and lure them.”