Locals in Kerry have an unexpected visitor, as they have been warned not to approach a wild boar that has been spotted running wild in the Mount Eagle area.
Boars were once a native species of the region, but have recently been classified as "alien species", meaning that they are considered an invasive species.
Boars sighted in Kerry
On Tuesday afternoon, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) were notified by a Castleisland landowner that seven boar-like animals were roaming the area. After confirming they were indeed boars, the NPWS managed to capture six of them - but one large male boar is now roaming free.
Public urged to be on alert as wild boar may still be roaming in East Kerryhttps://t.co/j7bz0xiv9B
— Radio Kerry (@radiokerry) June 16, 2021
The NPWS have warned locals or visitors not to approach the animal but to report any sightings immediately to their Killarney National Park branch on 064 6635215.
The six boars captured by the NPWS were "dispatched humanely", and they explained why the now presence of boars poses such a risk to local wildlife.
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 flu were to be present or if these highly contagious disease were unintentionally introduced.
It is not only illegal to import "alien species" into Ireland, but also illegal to release them into the wild without a current licence, because of the risks detailed by the NPWS above. If the perpetrator is found, they may well have some tricky questions to answer.
There would have been a time when a boar sighting wouldn't have been newsworthy for Kerry natives - after all, plenty of towns in the county can trace their names from times when boars were native - but now they're being asked to keep their eyes peeled.