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Thursday, October 22, 1998 Published at 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK


Escaped boar plague farmers

The Tamworth escape showed how canny boar can be

Farmers in south-east England are being plagued by more than 100 wild boar.

The BBC's Paul Kerley reports on the ministry's findings
A Ministry of Agriculture report says the boar are roaming free in Kent and East Sussex after escaping from farm enclosures.

The study, the first of its kind by ministry, was started after farmers reported that the animals were causing agricultural damage.

They have caused damage on pasture land and cereal crops in Kent and East Sussex, as well as Dorset.

Countryside Minister Elliot Morley said: "In the light of comments received the ministry will consider what if any action would be appropriate in the light of the study.

"We shall in any event be carrying out a fuller assessment of the risks to animal health from escaped wild boar."

'No risk' to people

The boar are not thought to pose a risk to human safety but confrontations between the animals and the public have occurred, according to the report.

Wild boar have also been involved in road traffic accidents in Kent, East Sussex and Dorset.

There have been a number of sightings of wild boar sows with their young, and animals in Dorset may also be breeding, the study said.

It is impossible to establish where the wild boar originally escaped from as the animals carry no identification marks and ownership cannot be determined.

Wild boar farming is a relatively new enterprise in England and around 40 farms around the country are registered with the British Wild Boar Association.

The animals must be kept under licence. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes it an offence to release wild boar or allow them to escape.

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