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Boar risk fear prompts cull plan

22 May 08 07:23 GMT

Wild boar roaming the Forest of Dean could be culled to keep their numbers under control.

Bait would be used to draw the animals into open areas where marksmen can get a clean shot.

The Forestry Commission has drawn up the proposals after fears that contact between the creatures and the public had gone beyond the level of safety.

In January this year, an aggressive boar was shot dead by a Forest ranger at Ruardean Primary school.

Forest of Dean Deputy Surveyor, Rob Guest, said: "People have been threatened or attacked, we've had at least three dogs torn apart by the boar.

Prolific breeders

"We've had a number of horses attacked and thrown riders, we've had boar in gardens and there's a risk to children in the gardens.

"So the number one requirement is to address the potential threat to public safety."

There are only about 100 boar in the Forest of Dean, but their numbers are expected to rise as they have no natural predators and are prolific breeders.

They frequently cause damage to grain and root crops and to grassland in search of invertebrates and small mammals, the commission said.

The plan is to bring in professional wildlife managers to coordinate the cull.

Boar drives have been ruled out, as has the use of sporting guns.

Younger animals would be taken out, leaving the social structure of the boar population in tact.

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