Page last updated at 10:54 GMT, Monday, 14 December 2009

Irish wild boar makes a comeback

Mad, bad and dangerous.. the Irish wild boar makes a comeback

The Irish wild boar - which died out hundreds of years ago - is back on the rampage.

Conservation authority, Biodiversity Ireland, has reported a number of sightings of boar in their old stomping grounds over the past year.

One 396lb boar was shot near a school playground in Tipperary this year, according to a report in the Irish Times.

Some lovers of wildlife argue that the boar should be welcomed.

But others believe they are a nuisance.

Farmers claim they damage farmland. They have also been accused of attacking dogs, charging at walkers and wrecking local land.

Sows, boars and piglets have been spotted in counties Kilkenny and Wicklow.

Some conservationists are concerned that, as the Irish wolf is extinct, there is no natural predator to keep the numbers of wild boar down.

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Barry Coad, the game and wild life manager for Coillte -an Irish commercial company operating in forestry, land based businesses, renewable energy and panel products - told the Irish Times he had dealt with a number of wild boar over the past year.

He said the problem was "quite widespread throughout the country".

Mr Coad has been directly involved in removing nine animals from Piltown in County Kilkenny and Glenealy in County Wicklow.

"I think it is a serious concern for agriculture and also there is potential for spreading disease," he said.

Wild boar are known to uproot large areas of land, eliminate native vegetation and have the potential to spread disease to domestic livestock.

Colonies of wild boar have become established in parts of the United Kingdom in the past decade.

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