WILD boar have returned to the New Forest – nearly 300 years after the ancient species was hunted almost to extinction.

Farmer Jamie Burgess spent a year adapting his land to rear the animals for their tasty and increasingly popular meat.

The creatures are being kept in a natural environment to closely replicate the conditions they would experience in the wild.

A dangerous wild animal licence and a site inspection are required for anyone keeping wild boar, which weigh more than 20st but can run at 30mph and leap a 6ft gap.

Jamie said: “Wild boar isn’t the easiest option for farming as they have much slower growth rates than domestic pigs, but that makes the meat lower in fat and higher in protein, so it’s a healthier option than many red meats.

“Our method of farming doesn’t domesticate the boar as we want them to live as naturally as possible. This allows for unforced growth and a diet similar to that experienced by boar in the wild, giving the best end result and a rich, nutty flavour.”