Meet the wild boar at the Kymin

Wild boar foraging on the grounds of the Kymin © National Trust

Wild boar foraging on the grounds of the Kymin

Amongst the curious things you can see at the Kymin, keep an eye out for one of the areas most elusive residents - the wild boar. The Forest of Dean, which borders the Kymin, is one of just a few areas in the UK that are now home to wild boar.

Once a native and common breed in Britain, the wild boar were hunted to extinction by the 13th century. They were subsequently re-introduced but again became extinct by the 17th century. The piglets and sows that we see today are the first in around 300 years to roam Britain as freely as their native ancestors did.

This little piggy causes problems

Wild boar have caused plenty of discussion over the past few years. The boar impact on many areas, including agriculture, animal health, conservation and public safety. For example, their rooting can damage pastures and they can carry TB (like badgers), which is a worry to livestock owners. Also, like many wild animals, if they become injured or feel threatened, they can be dangerous animals.

This little piggy causes none

On the other hand, many people argue that wild Boar are a native species to these isles and they play an integral part in the ecology of the woodland. Their rooting activity mixes soil nutrients and increases the diversity of plant species, which in turn benefits the insects that rely on the plants and so on up the food chain.

As Wild Boar in Britain states, 'Often the media portrays wild boar as being very dangerous animals,  but we need to keep things in perspective. With all animals, wild and domestic, there is an element of unpredictability, but wild boar do seem to get an unjustifiably bad press.'

So if you go down to the woods today, spare a thought for these controversial creatures as it looks like they're here to stay this time.