Hunters to seek freed wild boar

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Hunters on horseback and quad bikes will set out today to try to round up wild boar which have been on the run since being released from a farm in Devon shortly before Christmas.

Animal rights activists are believed to have freed the £300,000, 100-strong herd by cutting the wire fence enclosing the animals at Woodland Wild Boar Farm, near South Molton, on 22 December. About 40 of the boar, which belong to Alan Dedames, have been recaptured, but 60 are still free. Two have been spotted 40 miles away, near Plymouth. Mr Dedames said: "We are going to use the hunt to try to drive them back to the farm, but we have got to find them first."

Hounds will be used to try to locate the animals and flush them out of cover. Susie Maund, senior master of the Dulverton Farmers' Hunt, which will join the hunt, said it was going to be difficult to find the boar. "We are going to need all the luck we can get," she said. "We have got to help Mr Dedames, otherwise the boar are going to be shot."

Mr Dedames said people had started taking pot shots at the loose animals, which were shy and "not dangerous" unless cornered.