Wild boar have been released into a forest in a bid to aid the regeneration of ancient Caledonian woodland.
Forres-based charity Trees for Life will keep the six animals in a 30.4 acre enclosure on its Dundreggan Estate in Glen Moriston, Inverness-shire. It hopes the boar will control the spread of bracken which shades out other wild plants.
Once a native species, the mammal was hunted to extinction in the UK by the 13th Century. The boar have been donated from the Highland Wildlife Park at Kincriag, near Kingussie, and will be introduced to an area of ancient birch wood.
“Their presence is crucial to the ecological health and balance of a natural woodland,” said Alan Watson Featherstone of Trees for Life.
Trees for Life said the plan was to build on the experience of the 2004-2007 Guisachan Wild Boar Project based on the edge of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve. It said that project, in which it was a partner, demonstrated the importance of wild boar in forest ecosystems.
NOTE: This 2009 article describes how six wild boar were reintroduced to a Scottish forest after long being rendered locally-extinct by hunting. The goal is to restore a healthy ecosystem. Here in the U.S., wild boar are a destructive, invasive problem introduced by wealthy hunters. In Scotland, they belong. But is the present-day forest ready for them? If any UK readers would care to update all of us on the level of success (if any) of this project, please do so in the Comments area at the bottom of the page.