Where would our imaginative lives be without boars? Hercules hunted the Erymanthian beast during his 12 labours; Odysseus was mauled by one when out hunting. In Celtic folklore, Finn McCool lured a rival to his death on a boar hunt. And, of course, fans of Asterix the Gaul know the stories would not be the same without Obelix's inexhaustible appetite for the roast variety.
So, inevitably, it is with mixed feelings that we contemplate the explosion in boar numbers in the Forest of Dean and calls for a cull. If boars are being, well, boorish, they obviously need a bit of disciplining, but it would be a shame to wipe them out. The denizens of Gloucestershire might also want to bear in mind that it could be a lot worse.
America is estimated to be home to some four million wild pigs. One shot in Georgia in 2004 was four metres (13ft) long and weighed 450kg (70 stone). Our own wild boar problem, by comparison, suddenly looks rather un-Herculean.Reuse content