wild boar

Ministers are considering bringing out a 'beware of boar' road sign to warn drivers of the animals straying on to the road
Ministers are considering bringing out a 'beware of boar' road sign following a fatal motorway collision involving one of the wild animals last week.

The new sign could be erected along stretches of roads near 'infested' areas, along with barriers to keep out the 20 stone animals.

The plans, to be discussed by transport officials, follow the death of Raymond Green, who died when his car collided with a boar that had strayed onto the M4 in Wiltshire.

The animal was then struck by an articulated lorry and led to the busy stretch of motorway closing for eight hours.

Boars have caused crashes in the past, with France and Germany already using signs to warn drivers of the animals.

The new road sign would show a red triangle with a large boar leaping across a road, the Sunday Times reported.

There are already similar signs in place for warnings of cattle, wild horses or ponies, deer, ducks, toads and general 'wild animals' on the road.

Roads minister John Hayes said Mr Green's death had shocked him and that he had asked transport officials to draw up a report on accidents caused by wild boar.

He said: 'Road safety in the context of wild boars is an emerging issue that needs to be addressed.

'The addition of a warning sign for wild boar in areas with populations of the animals would be a sensible step to encourage people to slow down and watch out.'
boars cause highway crash

Boar have caused crashes in the past, with France and Germany already using signs to warn drivers of the animals
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs estimates there are around 1,000 boar living wild in Britain, but some experts claim that the true figure is at least ten times that.

Scientists recently found two populations of wild boar comprising up to 4,000 in the Forest of Dean and Kent.

Wild boar can run up to 30mph and weigh around 20 stone when fully grown. They can also jump 6ft.

In 2013 people living in and around the Forest of Dean said they were increasingly uneasy about the number of wild boar nearby.

Wild boar dug up land where the ashes of loved ones were scattered at the Pan Tod Beacon beauty spot on Ruardean Hill outside Cinderford, Gloucestershire. The animals also destroyed grass verges in the area and in 2013 the Forestry Commission announced a cull on the population.

In 2008 one had to be shot at Ruardean Primary School and two years later the animals destroyed a football pitch.

And last week a prized Gloucestershire Old Spot pig owned by Prince Anne was killed by a boar after it broke into the pen at her Gatcombe Park estate near Avening in Gloucestershire.

NUISANCE OR RETURN TO NATURE? WILD BOAR POPULATIONS RISE

Wild boar were hunted to extinction in Britain several centuries ago.

But their population has started to rise again after several programmes to reintroduce them in the last fifteen years.

There are now thriving herds spreading out into the countryside.

Boar are usually secretive and nocturnal and are likely to stay out of the way of humans.

When fully grown a wild boar weighs around 20 stone and can jump 6ft.

They can also travel large distances and reach speeds of 30mph.

In medieval times, boar from the Royal Forest were supplied for the Royal table - there is a record of an order for 100 boar and sows for a Christmas feast in 1254.

Boar are known to inhabit parts of the Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean.

The animals have roamed wild in the Forest of Dean in 2004, after a 700 year absence.

They started to populate the wild in 1999 after several escaped from a farm and in 2004 a group of 60 were dumped - further boosting wild populations.

Since then the population has grown steadily - with complaints about them digging up graveyards, gardens and grass verges.

Farming of wild boar in Britain became fashionable in the 1970s and boar originating from the European mainland were kept under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.