SEEING BOARLETS, A MOMENT OF WILD JOY

By Chris Sandom

Wild boar typically give birth (or farrow) in the spring. When the time arrives the female (a sow) leaves their social group (called a sounder) and builds a nest. They pile vegetation on top of themselves and give birth within.

They normally give birth to between 4 and 6 piglets (or boarlets as I like to call them). The boarels are distinctively striped and amazing to watch, although be warned mothers can be protective if you get too close. With their small size boarlets are susceptible to the cold so there is lots of huddling in the early days.

I studied boar and spent a lot of time observing a small group. Boar are smart animals and important to the functioning of the British ecosystem because of their rooting behaviour that helps increase biodiversity by giving new opportunities for plants to get established. But watching these little boarlets was undoubtedly a highlight from my 3 years of research.