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Running a-muck Kerry wild boar shot by wildlife rangers were not carrying disease, tests reveal

The shootings caused distress among animal rights activists and others who pointed out that place names from Kanturk in Cork to Muckross and Torc in Killarney were associated with the once native boar or “torc”.

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The family of wild boar spotted in Kerry that was subsequently culled. Picture: Radio Kerry

The family of wild boar spotted in Kerry that was subsequently culled. Picture: Radio Kerry

The family of wild boar spotted in Kerry that was subsequently culled. Picture: Radio Kerry

A family of wild boar that were shot by wildlife personnel amid fears they would spread disease to local pigs and pig farms, were free of all disease, tests have confirmed. 

Seven boars were spotted running wild in the Mount Eagle and Castleisland areas on June 15 and there was distress among members of the public after it emerged the family of three adults and four juveniles were culled.

Six of the animals were isolated in a field where silage was being cut, and they were shot by National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) personnel. They comprised two adult females and four piglets.

A large male boar escaped and was tracked down some days later by personnel amid alerts to the public he could be dangerous and not to approach him.

The shootings caused distress among animal rights activists and others who pointed out that place names from Kanturk in Cork to Muckross and Torc in Killarney were associated with the once native boar or “torc”.

The Fianna legend of Diarmuid and Gráinne recounts how Diarmuid died after an attack by a large boar he was hunting in the Killarney area.

The culling of the animals featured in a discussion on RTÉ’s Liveline, with callers questioning why the creatures could not have been rehomed or even allowed to roam free, rather than being shot.

The Department of Housing, Heritage and Local Government, which worked with the Department of Agriculture on the issue said boar were considered an alien species now and it was policy to eradicate those released illegally.

They also warned of “dire consequences”.

“Such releases are not only illegal, but they also pose a very serious threat to the disease-free status of the national herd. There could be dire consequences if diseases such as blue tongue or African swine fever were to be present or if these highly contagious disease were unintentionally introduced,” the department said .

The dead animals were sent to the regional laboratory for analysis.

The Department of Agriculture has now confirmed that the tests were clear.

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“African swine fever (ASF) is a viral disease currently affecting the wild boar and domestic pig population in many European countries which can kill up to 100pc of animals affected,” the Department of Agriculture said.

“Although, Ireland has never had an outbreak of ASF, the Department urges farmers to remain vigilant for signs of this devastating disease which can be spread for example through the illegal feeding of infected pig meat or the movement of infected animals,” it said.

“As part of early detection measures for ASF, the department carries out surveillance on feral pigs of unknown origin which have been removed from the environment by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and all test results to date, including the recent samples collected in Kerry, have returned negative results for ASF.”

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