Saturday, 30 March 2013

1st Adder - 2013


Found my first adder of 2013 today.
For the details and photograph click HERE


Thursday, 28 March 2013

Decapitated Boar - Update

The Story Unravels 

UKWBT has found out what happened to the headless boar, found in the forest earlier this week.
This animal was found dead by a member of the public with what appeared to be a gun shot wound to the head. It was immediately reported to the Forestry Commission who dispatched a ranger to the site.

As there was no exit wound, with the bullet still believed to be inside, the head was removed and taken away for examination.
The rest of the boar was left as this will be a good source of food for other meat eaters in our forest like foxes and birds of prey etc.

Good to know the Forestry Commission take things like this seriously.

For More Info Click HERE


Some Pretty Hairy Comments!!!

Below is a link to a recent article in the Citizen Newspaper on wild boar numbers and diggings in the Forest of Dean, with some hair raising comments from a local Councillor!

The below is from a personal perspective only. I will not make assumptions on population numbers as this will only be pure speculation until we have a more accurate estimate in a few months time.

However, I would like to address some of the comments made by Councillor Norman Stephens.

Mr. Stephens says..... 

"A lot of people I speak to are sick and tired of the boar."
Is this a good enough reason to kill wildlife, or ask for it to be killed?

"They turfed up the ground around the Forest Church War Memorial just before Remembrance Day." 
Unfortunately Mr. Stephens, wild animals treat every day the same as the previous, but I am sure that if they did know this they would have indeed shown some respect like us.

"The mess at Beechenhurst is deplorable."
Again, unfortunately they do not look on this area in the same way we do. In fact, as food is eaten at this location daily, they see it as an opportunity and as a source for food.
To them, this "is" the heart of the forest, where they belong.

"Road verges have been wrecked."
The forest has seen a low natural crop of acorns and chestnuts this last season and to survive, like all living creatures the boar have to eat. One reason why they root road verges is because the verges are soft, which makes life easy for them. Is dirt on the side of the road any worse than the huge slab of tarmac snaking for miles throughout the area?
Wild boar are a native species and like it or not they helped sculpt the landscape we see today, many years ago.
Wild boar diggings might look unsightly to some, but the reality is that this activity actually revitalises and regenerates the forest.

Mr. Stephens has asked for the boar to be contained in a secure enclosure within the forest.
Really? And how big should this be; 1, 2, 3, 4 square miles, or more?
Even if this was possible, they would require feeding on a daily basis as their territory would be limited.
Male wild boar would have to be penned in a separate enclosure while the sows weaned their young.
A breach in the fence would see them escape, so this would also need to be monitored on a daily basis.

And finally, the Forest of Dean is not a zoo.

Citizen article HERE

One day, hopefully, we may learn to respect the fact that just because we walk on this planet, it doesn't mean we own it. 
We but only share this earth with billions of other living creatures and what we think and see as right, is actually destroying it.

Wild Boar Sow in the Forest of Dean

A wild boar piglet, learning how to find food


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Horrific Discovery in the Forest

What you are about to see is graphic 
so please be 

On Sunday 24th March, along with my friend and co-founder of UKWBT, Scott Passmore, we took a film crew into the Forest of Dean on the trail of wild boar for an upcoming documentary on this species.

I knew where there were a few sows with piglets and after circling the area for signs we headed into a dense part of the forest, where I knew they would be.
What we found was shocking and horrific!

A wild boar was lying at the bottom of a small tree and as we approached, we were greeted with a sight that sent my emotions over the edge. The poor animal was dead, but what was shocking was that it was missing its head!
My first concern was for the piglets, as they are still dependant on the sows milk. However, I soon realised that this was a male boar, not a sow and even though the sight was gruesome  I was relieved that the piglets hadn't lost their mum and their milk.

The male boar had a open gash to the belly area, exposing his internal organs and the head had been cleanly removed with a very sharp instrument. Probably a machete.

Our first thought was that this fella had been poached and decapitated, but on closer inspection we could not find a gunshot wound anywhere on the body, so this would mean that to drop an animal of this size, it would have been a shot to the head, if indeed he had been shot.
We were then puzzled as to why the head was nowhere to be seen, yet the body with a belly wound had been left. Surely if this animal was poached, the people responsible would have taken the meat?
If they had been disturbed or chased off by other boar, why did they struggle with just the head and for what purpose?

Wild boar sows will not tolerate male boar when they have young as male boar will kill piglets if they are not his, so that he can mate with the sow to keep his own bloodline going.
We came to the conclusion that this male entered the sows territory and with young this caused the sows to attack him, slicing his belly in the process. This wound would have been severe enough to kill him and this is what probably happened.
As for the head, many people walk the forest searching for boar and if someone came across this chap and decided the scull, complete with tusks would make a nice trophy, it wouldn't have taken long to return with a machete and remove the head.

The boar had been dead for a while when the head was removed as there was no blood on the ground around the neck area. Also, the exposed meat in the neck area was fresh and had no odour, yet the open wound on the belly was rotting and smelled awful.

Shocking as it is, at least this lad will now help other wildlife in the area as he is now a source of food for birds of prey and foxes etc.

Of course we could be completely wrong as this lad may have been shot in the head with the offender then going to work removing his head. Poachers usually butcher in the forest as it is easier to get the meat out, rather than drag a 150lb+ carcass out.
If this was the work of a poacher and he was startled or disturbed, he may have left the area to return later.
It wouldn't take long for the meat to spoil and he may have opened the belly on his return only to discover this. Leaving what we found?

Your thoughts are welcome?


Were were greeted with this!

Belly wound. Fight, or a knife? 

Cleanly cut and obviously made by a human!


Wednesday, 20 March 2013


Due to manipulation of text used against me, the use of any or all of the wording below may not be used without prior consent from the author Robin Ward.


As many of you are already aware and for those of you who don't know; I helped set up and run the following conservation groups.

GlosARG - Gloucestershire Amphibian and Reptile Group 
UKWBT - UK Wild Boar Trust 

I am not one to play tit for tat crap on-line as I value and use my spare time wisely regarding the conservation of our wildlife.
However, due to recent manipulated publications by a certain so called jealous wildlife campaigner who obviously has too much time on his hands, I feel I must make the following perfectly clear.

I, nor any conservation group that I am a member of supports the unnecessary killing of "any" wildlife in the UK.
UKWBT has released the following and this is also GlosARG's stance.

UK Wild Boar Trust Cull Policy

We want to reassure our supporters that UKWBT do NOT support the idea of wild boar, or any other animal, being managed by lethal methods. 

UKWBT will campaign to ensure that if a cull is to be carried out by Land Owners/Forestry Commission, it will only happen if absolutely necessary and on the back of an accurate and/or logical estimation of population numbers.

We strongly believe if UKWBT can negotiate a lower cull target through working with the Land Owners/Forestry Commission on the management of the wild boar, based on our own research into the boar population, this will be a successful commitment to the wild boar and will save the lives of many animals. 

This can also be viewed on the front page of our website HERE

It is such a shame that this one person, with an ego large enough to explode out of his head like a volcano can be so negative and aggressive towards two substantial conservation groups that are obviously doing very well in a very short space of time.

With a prestigious Patron list including Chris Packham, Andy Rouse, Iolo Williams, Zara Boland and Sarah Jane Honeywell, we are obviously pro-active, trusted and committed to the welfare of wildlife in the UK. Sadly something one very small minded person is now trying to damage through pure jealousy.

Further details on our Patrons can be found - HERE

UKWBT and GlosARG will rise above this pettiness and we will succeed where certain others will fail. We will never let anything get us down and we will always put the wildlife first.

I hope you respect and support the work that a few dedicated volunteers are carrying out in the name of wildlife throughout the UK.


Sunday, 10 March 2013

UK Wild Boar Trust


In 2006 I helped set up Friends of the Wild Boar (do not confuse with Friends of the Boar) with two other people.
The wild boar had only been present in the Forest of Dean for two years at this time and during the following couple of years, the three of us from FotWB worked hard  to highlight the issues surrounding these newcomers. Poaching was a big problem as all of a sudden the shooters had a new prey species to hunt. Gaining support proved very hard as the boar were not as widespread as they are today and the support just wasn't out there.
We were always open and were appealing for help from day one, but sadly no one bothered to come forward.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of help and support, Friends of the Wild Boar dwindled away, but at least we had opened communications between the Forestry Commission and the Council during the time we were active.
Supposedly, in 2011 (7 years after the boar arrived in the FoD) David Slater helped set up Friends of the Boar and took over where we had left off. The foundations for this renamed group were already in place and during the following 18 months I contributed to helping this group and the wild boar.

In late 2012, after a conflict in interests and beliefs I decided to leave FotB. This was a hard decision as I was not turning my back on the wild boar, but on certain people within this group for their out there and insane views on wild boar populations and management.

In December 2012, along with some like minded colleagues UK Wild Boar Trust was founded and is now a very successful organisation. We have numerous high profile Patrons including Andy Rouse, Iolo Williams, Zara Boland and Sarah Jane Honeywell.
Chris Packham has also publicly shown his support.

UKWBT was created as a hub for the whole of the UK, so that any areas with wild boar can find information and can easily contact us. We have people working in Devon, monitoring and surveying the area and we soon expect to have people across the whole of the UK, feeding data back to us.

I also helped set up and now run GlosARG as well as UKWBT and after taking a week off work I spent four days getting my hands dirty,  managing, crating and repairing reptile and amphibian habitats in Gloucestershire. This was done on my own and with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, for whom I am a volunteer. I also attended meetings with the Forestry Commission, Wildlife Trust and FoDDC; all wildlife related.
Not all of the damage was down to boar, but three of my locations had seen extensive disturbance from boar rooting and this is the worst possible time as the reptiles will soon be emerging from hibernation.
This was corrected and new habitat identified and managed.

UKWBT does not want to see any boar removed from our forest, however, as a conservation group we care for all wildlife, not just the boar like FotB. For this reason we understand that there will be times when other wildlife and habitats will be at risk if the boar population increases above a certain level and we need a balance for all of our wildlife.
We will be working closely with the FC tomake sure this balance is maintained, but also to make sure that "no boar" are removed unless "absolutely necessary."

Below are just a few pics from my conservation work this last week. Not many photos as I was hard at work and it was raining most of the time.

30 corrugated tins we put out for artificial refuge 

One of the tins. Reptiles and amphibians will use these as shelter

This is a pond in the Forest of Dean, which is surrounded by roads. Unfortunately toads, frogs and newts cross the roads to get to the pond to breed.
Along with my colleague and good friend Scott Passmore and one other volunteer we cut away around 30 metres of thick bramble this afternoon. This was to create a clear area to funnel the amphibians into a certain area where a toad tunnel runs under the road.

Toad Crossing
Before work began

And after. Hard work as only three of us, but we got there. This will help channel to amphibians to the tunnel

Tunnel entrance to the pond on the other side of the road

Hopefully this shows that UKWBT is working at a large number of wildlife conservation levels throughout Gloucestershire.
If you wish to support us, and / or get involved please visit the following links.

UKWBT - Website
UKWBT - Facebook

GlosARG - Website
GlosARG - Facebook

We are also on Twitter - UKWBT - - - GlosARG