New thermal camera to be used to track Forest of Dean's wild boar numbers
The first 2013 litters of baby wild boar are being spotted, as campaigners take proactive action to help manage the controversial animal.
Annual culling of boar ended in January and a new state-of-the-art thermal imaging camera will be used to try to gauge the size of the population before it starts again in the autumn.
It comes as campaign group UK Wild Boar Trust (UKWBT) met with Forestry Commission rangers in a bid to foster better relations and agree to work in partnership.
A statement from the Forest-based UKWBT said: "Both parties have agreed to work together on the management of the Forest of Dean wild boar population and any upcoming culls.
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"UKWBT will continue campaigning to ensure that if a cull is to go ahead, it will only happen if absolutely necessary and on the back of an accurate or logical estimation of population numbers."
The group said it is against using lethal methods to manage the boar but said it understands it is the only practical way to do it at present.
Ian Harvey, chief wildlife ranger for the Forestry Commission in the Dean, said: "The cull ended in January and we are back into a monitoring stage now.
"UKWBT is doing its own census, getting people to report sightings and we are grateful for that information.
"We met to establish lines of communication and they understand it's a sensitive subject but we are moving the subject forward now."
Boar have divided opinion in the Forest and it is difficult to accurately tell how big the population is.
A new state-of-the-art thermal imaging camera has been bought by Forestry Commission England which will be used for night sightings before a cull target is set for next year.
Culling should begin again in September, Mr Harvey said.