Wild boar strikes fear into the hearts of walkers
THEY became extinct in our forests centuries ago, but now wild boar are roaming the countryside once again.
However this time round, they are distinctly unwelcome – with the Government labelling them "one of Ireland's most unwanted invasive species".
The boars – stronger and bulkier than the common pig – are widely believed to have been illegally introduced into the Irish countryside for the purposes of hunting.
The wild pigs have been caught on camera living in woodlands in the north Clare/south Galway area.
One has been spotted several times in recent weeks in the Loughaun area on the main road between Tulla in Co Clare and Gort, Co Galway.
Locals believe that there is more than one boar in the area and fear that the wild animal could even eventually venture closer to the village, with the potential to injure a child.
A group of walkers out on a trail in Tulla were stunned to watch a single male boar cross the path in front of them and stopped and waited for the animal to move off into the woods again.
One local man said: "He just stopped on the path and stood there. He had a good look at us but did nothing.
"I was sure he was going to come at us. He walked off in the woods again but I won't be going back there until I know he's gone.
"And if he comes anywhere near my house, I won't have a problem taking the shotgun to it.
"I don't think anybody has been attacked yet but a lot of people are talking about this fella.
"I think there's more than one because somebody said one was spotted closer to Tulla. I don't think he'd be covering that much ground," he said.
In 2011, the Department of Agriculture said they were among "Ireland's most unwanted invasive species".
Wild boar can spread foot and mouth disease, swine fever and even rabies.