MANATEE — There are between 800,000 and 1 million wild boar in Florida, about the same as the deer population, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
No wonder that boar and man often clash.
A boar, which can reach 400 pounds, can root up a homeowner’s lawn so badly that it looks like a bulldozer has gone through.
The boars, which are considered by many perfect for the barbecue, usually lose their match with men, who pursue them with vigor and with the blessing of the state, which considers the animals “trespass livestock.”
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But all that hasn’t stopped neighbors in the Planation Oaks community near the corner of State Road 70 and U.S 301 from developing a fondness for one lonely male boar they have named Jimmy Dean.
For the past few weeks, Jimmy Dean seems to be hanging around by himself in the afternoon when the school bus drops kids off at the corner of 47th Avenue East and 30th Street East near a large lake.
“I don’t think he should be killed,” said Kelsi Hindle, 17, who lives with her parents, Clay and Paula Alawine, on 31st Street Circle East, which is part of Jimmy’s feeding range. “He’s not where he wants to be. He’s not home. I’d like to see him relocated to Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, where he probably came from.”
Hindle, who is in the agriculture program at Braden River High School, said it’s unusual that Jimmy Dean has no family.
“Boars usually travel in a herd,” said Hindle, an award-winning handler of dairy cows.
Susan LeBourgeois, who lives across the street from Kelsi, was at home ill all last week and when she finally left her driveway Monday morning, she saw Jimmy Dean in her yard.
“He’s the first thing I see, and I was sick all week with the swine flu,” LeBourgeois said with a grin. “You can’t make up stuff like this.”
Jimmy Dean’s story isn’t likely to have a happy ending.
It’s against state law to relocate a wild hog without a permit, said Gary Morse, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“Hogs contain a variety of diseases,” Morse said. “Relocating wildlife is not always the answer.”
So, what should the neighbors in Planation Oaks do about Jimmy?
“They should leave it alone or trap it and warm up the barbecue grill,” Morse said.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 708-7917.