I was recently made aware of a council meeting regarding the future of the wild boar in the Forest of Dean.
The council are to make recommendations to the FC on how best to handle an increase in boar numbers, but we all know what their agenda is?
Cull now, ask questions later!
I contacted them by e-mail, which was given to me by Mr. Bob Bushell, which was given to him by Mr. Dave Slater, for whom I am thankful.
Here are just some of my comments....
I am a wildlife photographer, but this should not cloud any person's judgement on me or what I have to say as I am passionate about the Forest of Dean, not just it's wildlife.
I have been managing areas for the adder and grass snake for many years and I have watched as their numbers have increased in some of my areas. I work hard to try and educate people on our wildlife, including the dangerous and ugly stuff as well as the pretty and safe critters.
I am a volunteer wildlife consultant at Lakers school in Coleford, I write wildlife articles and supply wildlife photographs for the BBC Gloucestershire web-site and I have been a member of NARRS (National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme) from day one, surveying and forwarding valuable data from the Forest of Dean, to hopefully get on top of any decline in reptile and amphibian numbers before it's too late!
One point I would like to make is that I am a busy Company Director for a recruitment agency and all the above is done in my spare time without pay, this is how much this place and it's wildlife means to me.
Wild boar have no natural predators, but this is something that has been overcome before! The fallow deer have no natural predators in the Dean also, so they are managed to keep their numbers in check and to take out the sick or injured deer. What you are left with is a healthy herd of deer, which encourages tourists as well as helping to keep the forest flora neat and tidy (and don't forget the revenue they produce).
However, the big issue with the wild boar is the road verges, yes? They run around the roads ripping up the verges and jumping in front of every car, which passes, no? That is what some people think when they are asked about the wild boar. It is these people, which in turn spread the word that the wild boar are dangerous and a menace to anyone out driving and walking in the forest. This is plain and simple scaremongering from individuals that can not see the whole picture.
I have said this many times before and will keep saying it, the armchair critics have a lot to answer for when it comes down to persecuting our wildlife.
They are far too keen to condemn a certain species on the word of a fellow colleague, without actually thoroughly researching and getting out there to see for themselves what is actually going on.
How many people from the council, which are involved in this debate have seen a wild boar, in the wild, in the Forest of Dean? I would dearly love to know this answer.
When will we learn that the answer is not to eradicate, but to manage. I am bringing my two daughters up to respect all wildlife as everything has a right to live and even though we say we are superior? I feel ashamed at the way some wild animals are treated.
WHAT IF THE BOAR DIDN'T TEAR UP THE VERGES AND FIELDS?????
WOULD THERE BE SUCH A CRY FOR THEIR DEMISE THEN?????
Out of sight, out of mind springs to mind!
Some people, which do not understand, believe what they are told and what they read, it is all the negativity from the local newspapers that isn't helping. If they said something positive about the boar it would take the heat of them and they may stand a chance of being accepted over time. Or are they too spineless to write something positive in case of a backlash?
There is this little thing called the cosmetic syndrome. It is a phrase I use when animals are targeted because they do not fit in.
Imagine if all of a sudden the fallow deer started ripping up the road verges and fields! Would there be an outcry to eradicate them from out forests? Or would everyone come together to help find a solution for poor little bambi?
But when it's the wild boar, it's kill them all, more will come and they will kill our children. I feel very sad as I was born and have lived in the Dean all my life, but I feel like nothing has been learnt from previous mistakes.
The wild boar were native to the Dean centuries ago, before they were hunted to extinction. The fallow deer however, are not native, the roe deer is our true native deer yet the fallow deer is loved. There is the cosmetic thing again!
I am not naive and I understand that having a mammal like the wild boar in the Dean could cause problems un-related to nature, but surely we have seen poaching and illegal hunting with the deer? If the boars were managed to a small controllable number, surly this would make it too difficult for hunters to track them down?
As pointed out earlier, if the general public were asked what is the worst thing they could think of regarding the boar in the Dean, 90% of them would say "the road verges being a mess", why? Because 90% of the general public have not even seen a boar, and that's fact!
Everyone has a right to be heard, but please don't listen and make a judgment on the back of what the Sunday dog walker says, or on the state of the road verges. This animal does not deserve to be eradicated just because it likes to eat worms!
Please try and take some possitives from the boar. Surly they can be managed and the revenue they would produce could go towards tidying up the road verges, which would not only create jobs, but would also help with the collection of litter from our roadsides.