Wild boar disease threat highlighted at Forest of Dean meeting

The disease threat posed to the UK’s £350m pig export market by rising wild boar numbers in the Forest of Dean was one of the key focus points addressed by a multi-body meeting held late last week as it became clear how large the feral population has become.

The meeting, called by the Deer and Feral Wild Boar Management Steering Group, included representatives from the Deer Initiative (DI), Forestry Commission (FC), National Farmers Union and National Pig Association. Also present was Forest of Dean MP, Mark Harper, who was “briefed” on the growing issues of road traffic accidents, damage to local amenities and the risk of disease transmission to the UK’s commercial pig herd.

“All agreed that there was a need for coordinated action to ensure that the Forest of Dean population was sustainable and that the negative impacts of feral wild boar are minimised,” it was stated by the steering group after the meeting.

DI executive director, Peter Watson, added: “‘We share the FC disappointment that the numbers of feral wild boar in the Forest continues to rise and are currently working with the FC and local landowners to develop a plan to reduce the number.”

He also said the meeting with Mr Harper was designed both to brief him on the current situation and to gain his support for local wildlife managers to be appointed.

“We will be keeping him informed of developments over the next few months,” said Mr Watson.

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