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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 January 2006, 08:14 GMT
Farmers fear further boar damage
Baby and parent boar at the Woodland Wild Boar Farm - PA
Boar have been reported 40 miles away from where they were released
Farmers fear more damage will be caused after an unsuccessful attempt to round up 60 wild boar in Devon.

The animals have already caused thousands of pounds-worth of damage to fields and crops since 100 were set loose by animal rights activists.

About 40 have been recaptured, but another 60 evaded a round-up attempt by farmers and hunters on Wednesday.

The South West Lakes Trust says it is taking reported sightings of wild boars close to Plymouth seriously.

Reservoir sighting

The 100 animals broke for freedom in the countryside around East and West Anstey, near South Molton, in December after a fence was cut by animal activists at Allan Dedames' Woodland Wild Boar Farm. Forty were soon recaptured.

About 100 people, including members of the Dulverton Farmers' Hunt and others, spent three-and-a-half hours on Wednesday scouring the area for the missing boar using hounds and quad bikes. Only one animal was retrieved.

Farmers now fear more damage will be caused.

Keith Bavin farms 25 acres at West Anstey. His land is next to the farm from where the boar escaped and the animals have left their mark.

He claimed their damage meant 10 acres of grass being grown for animal feed would have to be re-ploughed in the spring, leaving him thousands of pounds out of pocket.

WILD BOAR FACTS
Wild boar
Wild boar were hunted to extinction in Britain 300 years ago
Small breeding population has emerged in East Sussex in last 10 years
Males can weigh up to 200kg
Boar can run at speeds of up to 40mph
Can reach 25 years of age in captivity
Exceptional hearing and sense of smell, but poor eyesight
Males grow upper and lower tusks
Very wary and shy from human contact

He said: "It's very unfortunate for Al that they have been let out.

"We all feel very sorry for him, but the damage that they have done is affecting my livelihood."

Meanwhile, the South West Lakes Trust said it was taking reported sightings of wild boar by walkers as far south as Burrator Reservoir, close to the outskirts of Plymouth, seriously.

Lee Hembrow from the trust said they were keeping a look-out for the animals, despite the fact the sightings were more than 40 miles (64km) away from where they were released.

He said: "We've got our rangers going out as part of their regular patrols around the area, keeping an eye out for any animals and talking to locals and people who are out walking their dogs to ask if they have seen anything."

The Animal Liberation Front said it was responsible for freeing the animals.

Members of the Dulverton Farmers' Hunt said they would launch another search for the animals if farmers requested it.


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