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Last Updated: Monday, 6 October, 2003, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
Farmers warn of wild boar dangers
wild boar
Wild boar present increased risks to livestock and ramblers
Four hundred years after it was hunted almost to extinction, the wild boar is making a reappearance in the South East - and causing problems for farmers.

It is estimated there are up to 1,000 of the large, tusked animals in Kent and East Sussex alone.

Farmers and conservationists are worried that the rapid spread of the animals could destroy crops and lead to an increase in road accidents.

Commercial wild boar farmers say the boars which actually live out in the wild are also responsible for spreading disease such as swine fever and foot-and-mouth.

Escape after storms

Government experts are compiling a report into the problem after scientists said a colony of the omnivorous animals grew up in south east England following storms in 1987 and 1989 when 15 of them escaped from farms.

Keith Taylor, of the British Wild Boar Association, said drastic action is needed.

He said: "We think that ideally they should be culled, but it's easier said than done because they are nocturnal and are difficult to find.

"It would certainly require a team of professional stalkers to find them and professionally cull them, so we don't have members of the public or anyone else going out on a wild boar hunt."

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