WILD BOARS ON THE ROAM
FEARS ANIMAL IS SPREADING:
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