The rules for being a wild animal in the UK are simple. Be quiet; leave no trace; stay in your place; and, most important of all, always be afraid of people, and never make them afraid. So what happens when a creature we wiped out centuries ago comes back and breaks all those rules?

As part of my Masters dissertation in Environment, Science and Society at UCL, I conducted a qualitative study of human encounters and relationships with wild boar (Sus scrofa) in the Forest of Dean, now home to the largest-known population of the species in the UK. My aim was to understand how the people living there respond to the boar, and how they have adapted to co-existence with the boar. Through in-depth interviews with nearly 30 residents including wildlife photographers, dog-walkers, horse-riders, gardeners, and parents, I found changes at work that went beyond anything I had expected.

In this lecture I’ll delve into the diversity of encounters that people have had with the boar, focusing on bodily and emotional experiences. I will discuss people’s reasons for fearing, hating, or loving the boar. And I will explore the adaptations that some have chosen or felt forced to make, including subconscious adaptations, arguing, ultimately, that wild boar have not simply rewilded themselves in the Forest of Dean; they have rewilded us.


Date(s) - 18/08/2019
10:00 am - 10:20 am

Harrier Lecture Theatre