Three young pigs have gone missing from woodland in the Forest of Bowland sparking a major hunt by Lancashire Wildlife Trust.
The three saddleback sows, all aged around five months, were being used to graze the woodland as part of a trial to see how effective this would be as a means of encouraging natural regeneration. It represented a return to traditional methods for helping to improve the health of the wood for the benefit of birds and other wildlife.
LWT East Lancashire Reserves Officer Phil Dykes has turned detective to find the missing pigs. With help from volunteers and others within the Trust, the search has been on to find clues as to their whereabouts. Phil said: “Looking out for places were the ground has been dug up or finding pig dung, has enabled us to work out which direction they headed from their enclosure”.
“We have also spoken to local landowners and residents including a conversation with a horse rider who had had a problem with her horse suddenly stopping on the lane leading up from the village and refusing to move forward on a route that she did daily. She subsequently realised that it was probably the smell of pigs that the horse was reacting to when she found out later that day about the escape.”
Phil believes the runaways could have covered some distance, but are likely to be in the area north west of Clitheroe leading towards Bashall Eaves and the village of Hurst Green.
Naturally the Wildlife Trust is keen to see the return of the pigs as soon as possible and would welcome any reports that people may have of sightings or other evidence. Ringing Phil direct on 07841 996722 would be most helpful.
Phil said: “The markings on the pigs are very distinctive, being basically black with a pink band around the centre of the body giving the appearance of a type of saddle, and hence their name.
“Any possible sightings would be good to hear about. We are happy to come out to make further investigations and can readily summons transport to return the pigs safely to their woodland home”.