Calls to halt Forest boar cull
MORE than 1,400 people have signed a petition bidding to halt a boar cull in the Forest of Dean.
Between the months of September 2012 and January 2013, 100 wild boar are to be culled in the Forest in a bid to control numbers.
However, campaigners believe there is no need for the cull, claiming the Forestry Commission has overestimated their population.
Friends of the Boar, a group who want to see wild boar in the UK, believe there are far fewer in the wild than official statistics show, meaning any cull to control numbers would be pointless, and even detrimental to their existence.
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A spokesman for the Friends said: "We say 200 boar are present, they claim 600 to 650.
"A cull of 100 in such a rapid way may be disastrous with respect to the future existence of boar, their health, compensatory rebound effect and amenity grass damage.
"We will no doubt return to the conditions of 2009 when we witnessed a huge spurt in piglet numbers, increasing numbers of tame boar and widespread overturning of road verges and picnic sites."
In 2001, the Forestry Commission said that in the previous three years 400 boar were culled and the estimated cost was £40,000 to £50,000 a year. It estimated 350 remained in the Forest.
The Friends have got 1,471 signatures on their petition so far.
Ian Harvey, chief wildlife ranger with the Forestry Commission, said: "We're aware of the petition and the Friends of the Boar are obviously pushing a particular point of view.
"But we've got 92 registered complaints on our system at the moment from people complaining about damage being done by boar. We are trying hard to strike a balance and find some middle ground."
He said 100 boar would be culled by January.