Wild boar made a come back in Britain the 1970s when the farming of them became fashionable after becoming extinct in the country some time around 1300. Wild boar started to become wild again when escapees, or were possibly released, from farms began to live wild again.
Wild boar were one of the many animals who use to live in the Forest of Dean which was once a royal hunting ground, an order for 100 boars and sows was made for a Christmas feast held by the King in 1254 and they have been making a quiet come back here for a few years now with more and more damage from their night-time feeding being the most noticeable sign of their presence; or until this year when their population seems to have exploded and they seem to be everywhere.
I saw my first wild boar a few years ago but have maybe only spotted the odd glimpse of them since, in the past month though they are all over the place and not so shy anymore as more and more people have started to feed them (which unfortunately has encouraged some to have a go at poaching* them also, in most cases without the skills needed either)
I came across these three sows and about twenty-five piglets on the side of the road one late afternoon.
And on another night I spotted some really tiny piglets on my way home. I stopped to try to get some photos but they were just to small for my camera to pick up from across the road in the undergrowth. I watched until they disappeared off up the bank with their mothers and them followed some deer a long the track (from the road with a stream in-between us or I think they would have been off much quicker) and eventually realised I was also following a lone boar along the track. I kept following him as the deer disappeared of over the hill until we came to where the road and the forest track met. He stopped to have a roll in the a puddle at the end of the track and then started coming over to the road and where I was standing;
And even closer;
Before I decided it was time to chase it away and go back to my car… unfortunately it wasn’t very scared of my ‘shhhooo-ings’ and seemed to think my camera was very possible something tastie. He followed me all the way back to my car, at a safe but scary distance behind me stopping every so often when I tried to encourage him to turn round and go the other way, I think he thought I was making a lot of fuss over nothing.
Wild boar are very beautiful creatures with a magical ancient world feel about them but pigs have always been the one animal I am not to keen on and I think at some point in the not to far off future they are going to become more of a risk because they are losing their fear of humans and will soon be only to happy to join us in our back gardens for a cup of tea or a spot of gardening. Our council is starting a weekly food waste collection next month and I don’t think it will take them long to work out the treasures of bin day either.
*I saw this sow and her piglets a few days before she was killed, she was standing in a car park taking sandwiches from people’s hands and had no fear whatsoever and neither did her piglets