Thursday, 1 September 2011

Wild Boar Culling is a Guess admit the Forestry Commission

After some effort by Friends of the Boar to get the Guardian newspaper to run a story about the dangerous mismanagement of the wild boar by the Forestry Commission, it has finally been published today.  Follow this link to see the online version:

The Guardian promise us they will do a follow up piece if they get enough interest via online comments or letters, so please let your views be known.

The article is unanimous that previous culling and management has been based upon guesswork.  But the article only concludes there is a danger of extinction - once again!

We claim this has been dangerous mismanagement with more serious implications.

The culling started in 2008, and was a knee-jerk reaction by the Forestry Commission after calls of "something must be done" by the District Council acting on behalf of farmers and concerned public who had digested and believed in the many "scare" stories in the local press.  Due to lack of any previous research or prior knowledge of wild boar ecology and movements,the cull was almost forced upon the FC and therefore, they had to go at it blind.

But lately, fears of over-culling from people like "Friends of the Boar" have been ignored.  Wild Boar sightings have plummeted over the past 2 years, and even the FC admit it is difficult to find them to kill! But paradoxically, the FC have increased their estimates of a cull target!  They have reacted in total opposition to what seems appropriate to many people, including us.  The FC based increasing cull targets upon fears of a population explosion of the boar - which was basically based upon increased road verge diggings - a totally unscientific and ridiculous method of census or population-change for many reasons.

We worry that over-culling will lead to huge problems in Wild Boar health not least the actual promotion of a population explosion as the wild boar attempt to re-fill the natural carrying capacity of the forest (an explosion that the FC will counter by more killing - and so the problem snowballs...a hunter's dream!).

It has been shown many times that culling badgers has always led to more Tb outbreaks.  This is due to several factors, not least the stress an individual badger may be subjected to, thus lowering its immunity.

Boar are the same.  Immunity is encouraged throughout the "herd" by cross suckling piglets and mothers, and also by some older boar being low-dose carriers of certain viruses and bacteria.  These carriers are nature's natural vaccinations.  Kill these older animals and the vaccination (or naturally aquired immunity) disappears, leaving a population more susceptible to disease.

Tb exists in the soil all the time.  It does not fall from the sky or appear magically from nowhere.  When immunity is lowered by stress or poor cull management, Tb can begin to infect individuals that had up until then immunity to it.  Intensive farming of cows is stressful for the cow - hence their susceptibility to Tb.  Brutal killing of badger families is the same, and again for intelligent creatures like wild boar.

And what is on the cards for the badgers?  A huge cull and population crash!

We need to state the obvious here, and ask that our views are lobbied to MPs, the FC and the press.  It is up to you.


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