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NEWS RELEASE No: 162784 JUNE 2014

Forest of Dean boar survey confirms population has grown

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Wild boar

The results of a thermal imaging survey in the Forest of Dean estimate the population has grown to more than 800.

Now in its second year, the thermal imaging survey is helping the Forestry Commission to develop a more evidence-based, scientific population estimate to help decide how to continue managing wild boar.

The survey results suggest that estimates for boar numbers rose from 535 in 2013 to 819 in 2014, despite a cull of 135 animals.

Kevin Stannard, Deputy Surveyor said:

“It is important for us to have a reliable, scientific population estimate for the feral wild boar in the Forest of Dean so we can work with the local community and decide how we should manage them.

“The latest survey confirms that the population is still growing despite annual culls whose figure includes boar killed by road traffic collisions.

“No decision has been taken on the cull for the coming autumn and winter. We will continue to listen to views from the local community on how we should manage boar to sustainable levels in the light of this new information.

“Each year that the population grows makes it harder for us to bring numbers down to a sustainable level. While we are not considering eradication, we do expect our cull target to rise significantly in the light of this new estimate as we need to bring the population of boar on the Public Forest Estate under control.” 


Notes to Editor

  1. The population of feral wild boar in the Forest of Dean originates from animals that escaped from a boar farm in the 1990s as well as animals that were dumped in 2004.  They are not there as a result of any planned, monitored or controlled species re-introduction programme.

    Feral wild boar are classified by DEFRA as wild animals, and as such do not belong to anyone.  The rights to shoot wild animals rest with individual land owners, and DEFRA Policy is that management of local feral wild boar populations is a matter for local communities and individual land owners.

    Parish Councils, and the District Council have met and debated the subject of feral wild boar.  The consensus from these elected representatives of the community is that the majority believe that the Forestry Commission should be supported in its endeavours to reduce the feral wild boar population to a level by which threats to road safety, public safety, and damage to amenity grassland and other forest habitats within the Forest of Dean are at acceptable levels.

  2. The survey took place between 17 February and 11 March 2014. Population densities of wild boar were estimated using distance sampling.

    The survey was carried out by Forest Research to estimate the number of boar on the public forest estate within the Forest of Dean. It mirrored the survey which was carried out in 2013, with the exception of minor changes in the areas surveyed. The results of these surveys provide a baseline from which annual estimates using the same equipment and methodology can help to indicate whether the boar population is rising or falling.

    A copy of the survey can be downloaded from

  3. Forest Research is the Research Agency of the Forestry Commission and is the leading UK organisation engaged in forestry and tree related research.  The Agency aims to support and enhance forestry and its role in sustainable development by providing innovative, high quality scientific research, technical support and consultancy services.

  4. Media Contact: Heather Lilley, Community and Communications Manager, Forestry Commission, West England Forest District. Tel 01594 833057 Email: