THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BELOW ARE MINE AND NOT THAT OF UKWBT
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.
|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