Wild Boar in France are not an endangered species, their habitats face no immediate threat and their population remains relatively stable. But as trends in hunting have changed so has the woodland.
One big problem is that an increasing amount of hunting terrain is managed for the ‘tourist hunter’. These hunts are more often on sites of ancient semi natural woodland historically. But the management to ensure a lack of disappointment for a Parisien businessman paying considerable money has altered the woodland to a state that resembles a badly maintained zoo enclosure
My son calls such woodlandscape ‘Africa’ and it is easy to see why. Large patches of a woodland, up to 2 ha are fenced in by camouflaged netting and the Boar are fed daily at carefully defined feeding points close to the comfortable high chairs used by the hunters.
The bored Boar have little space to migrate in and subsequently spend their days consolidating the soil and rooting out complete trees – particularly those of higher biodiversity value such as Oaks. The resulting canopied desert tends to be Sycamore dominated with absolutely no other ground flora or wildlife at all. The insect life tends to be solely mosquito’s and ticks.
Young Wild Boar – my apologies I am no Gordon Buchanan.
Yet neighbouring woodland types, open and actually with a higher density of Boar per ha, do not suffer hardly any damage and yet are little more than scrub with standards. What is interesting is that the scrub is the favoured habitat for Boar and their activity is restrained almost in a way to ensure that damage is not just limited but actually managed, particularly surrounding their favourite wallow patches.
The Boar clearly manage open woodland to suit their lifestyle. When it is constrained the Boar manage the woodland to ensure a closed canopy where they are protected from the elements and in open areas they keep low scrub areas maintained to ensure protection from not just the elements but to protect themselves from interfering humans.
Enter an area as in the above picture at your own peril.