Mystery surrounds the sudden arrival of a group of wild boar on a island in the Shannon Estuary.
The animals - estimated to number six or seven - have caused extensive damage to properties on Foynes island since their arrival in recent weeks.
Sgt Dave Callanan was notified about their presence and travelled by boat to the island the assess the situation.
“Somebody has landed a number of wild boar on the island and nobody knows who owns them,” Sgt Callanan commented.
“There are six of seven of them there,” he added.
Wild boar are considerably larger than domestic pigs and have sharp, tusk-like teeth protruding from their lower jaws.
“They are about the size if a German Shepherd dog, but much bulkier and they can be quite aggressive,” said Sgt Callanan.
“They can be dangerous, especially during the mating season, which is just starting now,” he added.
The island is unoccupied for most of the year but some local families own property there. Since their arrival in the past two or three weeks, the boar have done extensive damage to part of this property.
“They have destroyed the lawns and the garden. A tractor and plough wouldn’t do the kind of damage they did,” commented Sgt Callanan.
It was during a recent visit to this property that family members discovered the presence of the boar.
“One of the families came down from Dublin and found the damage. They had been down the previous week and there was nothing,” said Sgt Callanan.
Since then, the Askeaton-based garda has been making enquiries as to how the animals got on the island, but so far to no avail.
“Someone must have come out on a boat from Clare or Kerry or Limerick and landed them there,” he said.
The discovery has been reported to the Department of Agriculture but it remains unclear whose responsibility it is to remove the animals.
“I may come down to the owner of the property there themselves to take some action,” said Sgt Callanan.
However, he added: “There has to be something done before they start multiplying”.
Though not native to Ireland, there have been a number of sightings of wild boar around the country in recent years. These have generally escaped from captivity of been deliberately released, possibly for hunting.
Anyone who can help gardai with information about how the boar got onto the island or who owns them is asked to contact Askeaton garda station at 061-601630.