James borrell is a conservation scientist and science communicator, with a particular interest in how species adapt to changing climate.

Wild Boar in Scotland


Wild Boar in Scotland

If you are exceedingly lucky, this is normally the best view you might get of a wild boar in Scotland. Love them or loath them, the one thing that most people agree on is that they’re controversial. Personally, I think boar are great, because of the vital role they play in the ecosystem.

I study trees. Surprisingly, there’s rather a lack of these in Scotland compared to a few hundred years ago. In a large part, this is due to the vast herds of deer that graze new seedlings before they can become established (the wolves that might have once kept deer in check are now gone too).

Boar on the other hand, work on the side of the seedlings. They rummage around on the undergrowth, disturbing the soil and in the process creating ideal conditions for seeds to germinate. They do this for free (more or less), helping to regenerate forests in areas where they exist with little or no intervention from conservationists.

This boar is from a group of six on Trees for Life‘s Dundreggan estate, where I’ve been working over the summer. They are surprisingly massive!

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