The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has launched an investigation following the discovery of five young boar at a Coillte plantation at Tanyard, Westport, Co Mayo.

The pigs were not tagged, which is a legal requirement, and as a result their origin or provenance could not be determined.

The NPWS said release of this species into the wild has the potential for significant adverse impacts on other wildlife and natural habitats, as well as being a vector for the spread of swine-based diseases.

Swine fever

The pigs have subsequently been removed following consultations with the Regional Veterinary Office in the Department of Agriculture and with the landowner Coillte.

The release of boar into the wild without a licence from the Minister of Housing is a breach of Regulation 49 of the EC Birds and Natural Habitats Regulations, 2011.

The Department of Agriculture advised: “African Swine Fever (ASF) is a severe threat to pig production systems and we must be vigilant to keep it out of Ireland. Wild boar play an important role in the transmission of ASF in Europe.

“Thus this species, especially individuals of unknown disease status, cannot be released into the wild. It is recommended that these animals be collected and euthanised humanely.”

The young boar were euthanised by a veterinary practitioner and disposed of via a licenced animal collection service.

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