Wild boar numbers in the Forest of Dean are continuing to increase despite an annual culling programme, according to the latest survey carried out for the Forestry Commission of England who manage the area.
Now in its third year, the survey carried out by Forest Research, revealed that wild boar numbers in the forest are now in excess of 1000, almost twice the number recorded in spring 2013.
Confirmation of the continuing population growth comes just three months after National Pig Association chief executive, Dr Zoe Davies, alerted Defra and the Forestry Commission to the “urgent” need to bring wild boar numbers in the forest under control. Highlighting the obvious “disease threat” posed to the UK’s commercial pig industry by the rising feral population, she challenged Defra to review their action plan for controlling numbers.
“Our long-term aim of managing the population of boar to maintain a thriving population of around 400 animals on the forest has not changed,” said the deputy surveyor for the Forest of Dean, Kevin Stannard, speaking after the new survey figures put the current population at 1018 boars.
“The most recent results are disappointing in so far as they show a further population growth at a time when we also achieved a significant increase in the cull. It remains our intention in the short-term to stop the population from increasing, and then to bring that population back to a level where the boar can live in harmony with our community and in balance with our rich woodland ecology.”