"Restoring wildlife to increase biodiversity and benefit people while dealing with the challenges is what rewilding is all about.

WILD BOAR

Wild boar typically give birth (or farrow) in the spring. When the time arrives they leave their social group (called a sounder) and build 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 boarlets are distinctively striped and amazing to watch, although be warned mothers can be protective if you get too close. With their small size they are susceptible to the cold so there is lots of huddling in the early days.

They learn to root (wild boar’s characteristic behaviour) in the first few days of life. Rooting is where wild boar use their noses to disturb the top layer of vegetation or even dig down into the soil below. It is a feeding behaviour that allows boar to access roots and grubs. Boar are omnivores and eat most things.

Rooting can create patches of bare ground in the vegetation. In nature it is a very important process that creates bare soil for plants to colonise, preventing highly competitive species from dominating. This helps increase the diversity of species living in the woods.

However, rooting can seem very destructive. When boar root unpopular species like bracken it is often viewed as a good thing. But when boar root blue bell woods, golf courses and back gardens it is definitely a source of human-wildlife conflict.

I studied wild boar and spent a lot of time observing a small group. I know from this experience they are smart and fascinating animals. Having taken groups out to try and see them in Sussex I know they can also draw plenty of positive attention, while upsetting others. For me personally I know that finding ways to live with more wildlife can bring a huge amount of joy. Restoring wildlife to increase biodiversity and benefit people while dealing with the challenges is what rewilding is all about.

For more information about wild boar in Britain see: http://www.britishwildboar.org.uk/index.htm?profile.html