Feral wild boar pose a ‘very genuine threat’ to the British pig industry as numbers in the Forest of Dean continue to increase.
The rising sum of wild boar in the Forest of Dean could soon be hitting 10,000 unless proper controls are put in place.
1,562 feral wild boar currently roam the forest, a 50 per cent increase on last year.
The National Pig Association (NPA) has called for more concentrated efforts to control the boar due to the threat their rising population poses to commercial pigs.
The NPA has joined forces with the Deer Initiative to host a wild boar summit in January with hopes to highlight the wider implications of further feral wild boar population growth on the pig industry and the impact on local communities.
They believe the situation now warrants a more effective and co-ordinated control policy, with the support of Defra.
The Forestry Commission has continued to cull over 400 wild boar this year but local resources are stretched.
NPA chief executive Dr Zoe Davies said the industry should be ‘mindful’ as Eastern European wild boar have been ‘integral’ in the spreading of the deadly African swine fever (ASF) virus.
“Feral wild boar pose a very genuine threat to the British pig industry,” she said.
“These pigs are gaining access to waste food when they root around in household bins and at picnic sites.
“If an exotic disease like ASF got into the UK’s wild boar population, it would become almost impossible to prove that the disease had been stamped out.
“This would wreck our burgeoning export market, now worth £350 million a year, with devastating consequences for the industry.
“We only need to look back to the last foot-and-mouth disease outbreak to know exactly what impact this can have on local communities.”
Defra said landowners should be responsible for wild boar and should help aid the prevention and proper control of their increasing population.
Wild boar have increasingly caused havoc among the general public, with 49 related road traffic accidents in the area since April.
"We need co-ordinated action," Dr Daviews said. "We are therefore calling on Defra to put pressure on the Forestry Commission, as responsible landowner of a significant proportion of the Forest of Dean, to carry out an efficient cull that is properly resourced.”