Underground hunting rings are believed to be behind the reintroduction of herds of wild boar into rural County Clare.
Three separate herds of wild boar have been discovered by authorities in forestry areas in the east and south of the county in recent weeks — with a total of 24 animals being captured from the wild.
The most recent herd was discovered last week in the Sixmilebridge area where two adults and two boar piglets were discovered. Earlier this year, 15 animals were discovered in the Scariff area and a further five were discovered in a separate forestry location in east Clare.
According to Clare County Council’s ISPCA Dog Warden, Frankie Coote, the animals are likely being released on purpose so that their offspring can be hunted for sport.
“These could have been released by people who took them in as pet and realised that they could not look after them, but I believe that they are being introduced by people who have an interest in coming back again and shooting the animals,” he said.
“I think that this is an attempt to get them back into the big forestry areas in the county. If they did make it undetected, they would accumulate and they would run wild in no time. The people would then come back and hunt them.”
The animals discovered were relatively tame, however, their offspring would be wild and would present a danger to the public and to other wild animals.
“We’ve had three incidents over the last few months in different parts of the county. These animals would have tusks and tough skin and the evidence suggests to us that someone is trying to reintroduce them in an organised way,” he said.
“These can be very dangerous animals — especially if they turn wild. The difficulty is that they breed like hell and while these animals are relatively sedate, one sow could have 13 or 14 offspring, and these offspring would be wild.
“If they were allowed to run wild it could quickly get out of control and it would present us with a major problem.”
Wild boar are similar in size and weight to pigs. They are generally stronger and better built, as they forage over large distances. They can be aggressive towards humans, especially when they have piglets.
They attack people by using their girth and power to ram them — essentially head-butting them — before slashing upwards with their sharp tusks.
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