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!



  1. Now i know why im a vegetarian, not a nice thing to come across.

  2. Thank you for the warning Rob which meant I was able to carefully manoeuvre my way through the post without actually looking at the photos. Whatever the cause a truly gruesome and shocking find!