Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Boar on the BBC

Just when you thought it might be safe to be in the Forest the BBC set about more scare mongering. The BBC featured the Forest of Dean boar population on the news today, early morning news at least. A fair and balanced report you might say, you might unless you watched it. With the exception of the one piece from the Forestry's representative the piece was clearly aimed at portraying the boar as fearsome.
How do I know? Well other than the fact that i watched it, I happen to know that my friend Dave Slater was interviewed yesterday about the boar. I know that Dave gave a piece of about 5 minutes but none of the positive things he said about the boar were included, the only comment that was used was one regarding only time telling what the final outcome may be.

Why were the BBC involved in this matter? I can only presume that it is a result of the continuing bad press that papers like the Citizen and Forest review have been printing.

Well let me try here to put a view from the pro-boar side.

The following pictures were taken today. You will see a number of shots but the two I want to draw to your attention are the last two.

There were a group of people who saw this boar, a male, at a location in the Forest. I happened to be in the right place at the right time. The boar stayed with us for at least an hour. Initially he was foraging amongst the brambles but then began to take seed that I put down for him. Then Bread rolls that someone else put down.

There were a number of children present and during the hour a number of adults walked past, sensibly with their dogs on leads. The boar was neither aggressive nor frightened. I stroked it. In the picture above it is about to take food out of my hand.

I am not in anyway saying that this behaviour is typical of all the boar in the forest. I am saying though that the press and other media should stay balanced in their reporting. I think that the Forest Review would be better off Printing a guide that educated the people of the Forest as to what they should and should not do.

My fear is that at some point in time a group of ill-educated people of any age will start to goad a boar that is as harmless as this one until it reacts and injury is caused to it or it's tormentors.

Despite the best efforts of the boar to stay elusive it is inevitable that they, like Foxes, Deer, and Badgers will eventually learn that there is a ready food source to be found in rubbish either left out for collection or dumped within the Forest.

I believe that the balance has already gone too far and that ignorance will result in the species again becoming extinct in the Forest.


Lewis Thomson said...

Great shots Brian, and very wise words. I too did an interview with the BBC a few weeks ago for 'inside out' midlands, which is apparently being shown on Friday 28th March. It will be interesting to see how they portray the boar, but I think we can all guess. I have regretted doing the interview since, as I fear it will be so edited and cut down that my views will get lost.

That really is amazing though, I ve never seen a boar that tame! Keep up the good work!


Bob Bushell said...

I happened to watch it, and found it quite unstable. The wild boars are a pleasant animals and they should left alone. I might stop watching the BBC. said...

I saw this too. I just wish people would leave them alone. The latest article in the review, headed "FIRST BLOOD TO WILD BOAR", details an event when a man was feeding a boar in the presence of other people including children who got caught by one of the boars tusks. It should be noted that this only happened after one of the children present POKED the animal with a stick!!

Rob Ward said...

Hi Brian,

I have done a little work with the BBC on the wild boar, but this was for the BBC Glos website and not TV. They used Lewis Thomson's pics to go with my feature and they let me put my point across, which was that they are not ferocious beasts like they have been portrayed to be in the local papers, but placid and inquisitive.
I am not saying that they can't be dangerous as they can, but so can any animal if not treated with respect.
What shocked me was the amount of immature and negative comments left at the end of the feature, for which I have to thank Lewis for standing up for the boar in his comments.
After seeing how they edit interviews, I will be hesitant in offering to comment on them for TV in the future.

Great pics mate, well done.