Wild boar raids anger residents of English forest

Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:17pm EST
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By Alexander Clare

London (Reuters Life!) - Some of the first wild boar to roam free in England for 300 years have been raiding rubbish bins, attacking dogs and digging up green spaces in villages scattered around England's first national forest park.

Recent snow and icy weather has interrupted rubbish collection service in the Forest of Dean leaving tempting treats in local bins that have attracted the boar, which ordinarily forage for shoots, leaves, bulbs, worms and carrion.

Some areas in the forest, which is in the west of England close to the border with Wales, have not seen garbage collection since before the Christmas holidays.

Ecologist Martin Goulding, who holds a doctorate degree in Wild Boar Ecology, told Reuters that scavenging was a natural activity for the porcine raiders and that a rich harvest of food from the bins will encourage more boar to target trash cans.

"If people leave rubbish out then bins can be raided. If one catches onto the trick then more will join in," he said.

Goulding advised people against provoking the boar, which can weigh up to 200 kg (440.9 lb) and roam a territory of several kilometers (miles).

"As with all wild animals there is an element of unpredictability so don't go winding them up," he said.

Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Review local newspaper Deputy Editor Mark Bristow said that the boar -- who have attacked dogs and rooted up gardens looking for food -- have divided local opinion over how to address the problem.   Continued...