Zoe explains why feral boar need to be controlled
27th Nov 2018 / By Alistair Driver
NPA chief executive Zoe Davies has explained to LBC listeners why feral boar need to be controlled in England's forests.
Zoe was interviewed on Sunday morning by LBC's Andrew Castle, who she had sat next to at Monday night's National Pig Awards.
The former tennis player turned broadcaster was discussing wild boar on his programme in response to reports of the damage they have been causing, including biting off part of a man's finger and 'ravaging graveyards'. In the Forest of Dean, in particular, numbers have risen from 120 in 2008 to over 1,600 today, despite a cull policy.
Zoe said: "It is becoming more of a problem because they are breeding very well. They are in a fantastic environment, they have got no natural predators, plenty of food and most come from farmed pigs, so are not traditional wild boar. They are more fecund, so they have more pigs per litter and they start breeding quite a bit earlier than normal pigs."
Explaining why a cull was needed she said: "Every population needs to be managed and if it's not managed by natural predators, one species just proliferates and other species will be negatively affected as a result.
"We are not saying they should all be completely taken out because we understand that wild boar are important for tourism in the Forest of Dean, but what we are trying to say is that they should be kept to the core area of the forest and the population should be managed properly."
But beyond the disruption the animals are causing to local communities, Zoe explained how the pig industry's biggest concern was the potential for feral pigs to spread African swine fever.
"The concern is they are having much more contact with people – they are hanging around picnic sites and having more access to bins and are starting to come out of the forest now as there are so many of them, into villages and towns. The risk is that they could peotentially get hold of something that has potentially been infected with African swine fever," she said, adding that the virus can survive for years in frozen meat.