Call for feral tag to be lifted from boar
FORESTRY officials won't drop the "feral" tag from the Dean's roaming boar but campaigners fear it means they won't be respected as wild animals.
Passions are high in the Forest as a trial suspension of culling ended on September 1. Boar roamed the Forest of Dean until the 17th Century and reappeared after farmed boar were released or escaped near Staunton in 2005.
Campaign group Friends of the Boar say they're wild but officials prefer the term feral.
"Given their propensity to roam around picnic areas and gardens, and have large litters, it indicates they have strong domesticated ancestry," said Ian Harvey, the Forestry Commission's chief wildlife ranger. The feral tag has been used consistently with the Defra policy in the UK.
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"Where populations have either been released deliberately or accidentally, feral is the appropriate term, but people will call them what they will."
He denied the term would make it easier to wipe out the Forest boar.
"There is nothing in the Defra action plan on boar that indicates that would happen," he said. He said on private land, some owners wanted rid of them, while others didn't. On Commission land, he said the challenge is to get the balance with nature and people right."
A panel set up by Verderer Ian Standing heard evidence of estimates of between 100 and 600 boar in the Dean.
"If you went to Poland, Russia or France, the boar you would see there are similar to what is here," said Friends of the Boar spokesman Rob Ward, who called for the feral tag to go.
"They are not aggressive, like boar in the USA which are different."