THE Government has announced a nationwide survey to judge the potential threat from wild boar - just as Daelnet highlighted concerns over the possible release of wolves and bears in Britain (see A week in the country).
The breeding of wild boar to provide meat for up-market restaurants became a fad in the early 1990s amongst farmers anxious to diversify from raising traditional livestock and several such farms were started in Yorkshire.
However, several animals escaped in the south and south east and have now set up breeding herds which are believed to be growing rapidly in Kent and Sussex with smaller colonies in Dorset and Herefordshire.
Boar are not only highly dangerous if cornered but also destroy crops and could possible spread disease to domestic animals so Defra - worried about upsetting the animal rights lobby - has launched a consultation programme asking farmers and other country people how the situation should be handled.
Says Biodiversity Minister Jim Knight: "For the first time since becoming extinct in Britain 300 years ago, wild boar have established several small populations in England, which has implications for farming, woodlands and parklands, wildlife, and the wider countryside and rural economy.
"From Defra's own research and monitoring, we know that poor wild boar management poses potential problems for agriculture, animal health and welfare, and for other wildlife.
"It is important that we hear a broad range of views on all the issues involved to inform future decisions on how we should manage wild boar in England."