Tuesday, 1 November 2011

£50,000 Per Year to Cull Wild Boar?

Kevin Stannard, deputy surveyor for the Forestry Commission in the Forest of Dean recently wrote an article for a local newspaper (The Citizen), regarding the wild boars in the region.
The article was full of flaws and inacurate information. To put some of this right and to give the general public a better view and understanding of wild boar management, I wrote a follow up article. However, it seems as though this newspaper has either been silenced by the FC, or they are not a pro wildlife media venture. Either way it is very sad that the truth behind wild boar management is once again being hidden from the general public, yet scaremongering is allowed and rife!

You can read Kevin's statements below, plus I have added the link to the original article. I strongly urge you to comment. ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE

My response is printed at the bottom of this post.

Kevin's Article
CULLING boar in the Forest of Dean costs £50,000 every year.
The startling figure was revealed by Kevin Stannard, of the Forestry Commission, who also admitted several wild boar culled had been shown to carry TB.
Giving a biannual boar report to the Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting of Forest of Dean District Council last week, he said: "It costs us around £40-50,000 a year to control the boar, and that's after revenue for game.
"All carcasses go to a game dealer in Herefordshire, but we do not shoot wild boar to fulfil a meat quota. The dealer gets whatever we shoot and the money from meat sales goes towards the management of the wild boar."
Furthermore, he added the population of wild boar in the district is growing but the exact figure is unknown.
He said that between April 2010 and March 2011, they culled 123 animals out of an estimated population of 350 wild boar. Their target was 150.
"From April 1 this year until now, we have culled another 154 so we have met our cull target and will not be culling again until targets are reviewed in April.
"Although the population is estimated at 350, there are probably a lot more. We will soon be doing a count using night cameras which will give us a minimum population figure."
Meanwhile, Mr Stannard said of the 400 culled in the past three years, three carcasses were found to be carrying TB.
He said: "Two were from woodland near Ross-on-Wye and the other was from the Forest of Dean. That ratio, three out of 400, is less than the ratio of TB found in deer. Every boar carcass is tested for diseases."
The issue of poachers was raised at the meeting and councillor Terry Haile (Con, Newland and St Briavels) fears for people's safety in the future.
He said: "Someone is going to get killed in the Forest because of poaching, it's got to stop."
Mr Stannard assured councillor Haile that the Forestry Commission were aware of poaching and the only way to stop it is for people to report gunshots to the police when they hear them.
He said: "If people hear gunshots at night on Forestry Commision land, it won't be us because we never shoot the animals at night due to safety issues. This must be reported to police. Also, we will never shoot a sow if she has piglets. However, if a sow is killed in a car accident we will try and find the piglets and kill them, otherwise they will starve to death."



Kevin Stannard’s recent article in the Citizen on the wild boars highlights his failings where this animal’s management is concerned in the Forest of Dean and it was nothing less than a blatant tactic to try and gain public support through scaremongering.
He stated that TB was found in three wild boar carcasses, two is Ross on Wye and the other in the Forest of Dean. However, what he failed to report is the fact that TB can be found and usually is found in deer carcasses after they have been culled. He is very quick to demonise the wild boars and provoke an outcry for their extermination through scaremongering, yet when TB is found in our deer, it is not publicised. Why? Because TB is and has always been out there, it doesn’t just appear from nowhere, it is in the soil and any mammal is susceptible to it, including deer and wild boar alike.
He then goes on to state that it costs us around £40-50,000 a year to manage this animal. What I would now like to see is a breakdown of the costs behind this figure.
For April 1st 2011 to date, he states that the FC has killed 154 boars. If the average price of a wild boar carcass is £300 when sold to his game dealer in Herefordshire, this equates to £46,200, but I am sure the average price for a wild boar carcass is much higher; unless the boars being shot are juveniles!
Where is the £50,000 going from the management of this animal? The FC has high seats dotted throughout the forest where they use bait to lure the boars in. They then shoot and remove them from the forest in a FC vehicle. I assume that after the man hours and the cost of the bullet to despatch the animal, there must be hidden costs? They already shoot the deer, so they already have the equipment required so there is no extra cost there.
We all know the cost of fuel has skyrocketed over the last few years; so maybe this is where the extra thousands are going?
One further question I have for Kevin Standard is this. Why have you released a statement declaring that you have already reached your cull target of 150 animals for this year and will not need to review this until April 2012? Why on earth do you persist on culling this animal while they have dependant young? Everyone who lives in the Forest of Dean will agree that the vast majority of hoglets are seen in the spring, so surely it would be morally right to suspend the cull at this time of the year, not in the autumn/winter months?
I once photographed a Forestry Commission high seat with a fallow deer carcass lying on the ground in front of it. The deer was obviously being used to lure the wild boars to the area, so they could be shot. This was found on 5th March 2011 when sows have dependant young and it was in an area where I was monitoring a sow and her 8 hoglets for a national project called 2020Vision with a good friend Andy Rouse. Around a week later we found the hoglets running around the area alone and it soon became evident that the sow was dead. Shot by Poachers or the FC, who knows?
Although the wild boars diet consists of food found while foraging on the forest floor, they are not fussy eaters and will eat whatever they come across, so a dear carcass is a good way of enticing them to a certain area.
There is no scientific evidence of how many boars we have living wild in the Forest of Dean, nor has there been any scientific study completed to show how many our forest can sustain.
Although I am 100% in favour of the management of the wild boars, I must stress that “management” is the key word and the over culling of this animal is where management turns to hunting! To pluck a figure of 350 out of the air, after admitting he has no idea how many are actually out there is just another tactic to gain extra support for the over culling of this animal.
To support our ongoing fight to see this animal treated right and fairly in the UK please sign the petition for seasonal protection at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/13423

Forestry Commission high seat with deer carcass.

1 comment:

  1. Glad the Citizen gave you space to put your point of view Rob. Congratulations on your article.