Tuesday, 27 September 2011

"Boris. Why always Boris...?"

A couple of weeks ago we were in Italy with Rowan's family, staying at their beautiful house in the even more beautiful Sibillini mountains. On the first two nights we were woken at 4am by wild boar snuffling and grunting and chomping figs beneath our bedroom window. We never got to see more than the undergrowth shaking as they moved about, but Rowan's sister managed a glimpse of a sow and piglets one night, from her window on the floor above us. Their parents, in a room on the other side of the house, slept through it both times, much to his mum's disappointment, and she vowed to sleep in a more piggy room once we went home. It's her birthday next week and, just in case she still hasn't seen or heard one of the noisy buggers, this chap's for her.

His name's Boris. Until he was shot by the Forestry Commission in 2009 he was the most famous wild boar in the Forest of Dean. Unlike most wild boar he had little fear of humans, and would enter villages where locals would offer him food and he would feed from their hands. The Forestry Commission decided it was time to put a stop to his friendly forays after Boris accidentally (and somewhat unsurprisingly if you've ever tried feeding a domestic pig from your hands) bit someone's finger. The local newspaper ran the headline "Boar Attacks Man For First Time in 300 Years". A little over the top? Hell yes.

I drew this monoprint from a photograph taken by David J Slater. For more of his photos and more on the wild boar of the Forest of Dean, including in depth info on the haphazard and indifferent culling practices of the local Forestry Commission, visit his website http://www.djsphotography.co.uk/British%20Mammals/Wild%20Boar.htm

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