Wednesday, 9 April 2014

WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES

PLEASE BE WARNED - VERY GRAPHIC

Over the last 3 days, 10 mammals have been found dead in the Forest of Dean.
Of these, a roe deer was found decapitated and two fallow bucks were found together, lying dead. Although it looks as though their antlers are tangled, the photographer is adamant that they were not.

Over the last 12 months, we have seen a spike in wildlife persecution throughout the area, aimed at the wild boar, but unfortunately we are now seeing other wildlife targeted. 
The persecution has come from politicians (certain Councillors and MP Mark Harper) who have all waged a personal war against our wildlife. The Forestry Commission (see photo below) and a newly formed anti-boar group called hogwatch.

MP & Hogwatch

MP Mark Harper

Hogwatch


Click image to enlarge.


Hogwatch formed to help give the FC a mandate to mass cull wild boar, even though there was no scientific evidence to back up their pie in the sky, imaginary population estimations.
What they failed to realise is that we have lost hundreds of acres of forest due to felling, over the last two years and this has taken hundreds of acres of boar habitat.
This has forced the boar to accumulate in larger numbers in unaffected forested areas, so we have not seen a number explosion, but seeing the result of habitat loss.
Unfortunately, put all these people in one room and they would have the brainpower to work this out between them and this is the sad reality of what is happening in the Forest of Dean. 

Imagine you are a bird and a tree gets chopped down. What do you do? You move onto the next suitable tree.
What if hundreds of trees get chopped down in one area. What do you do? You move to another area.
Our mammals are no different, in fact habitat loss affects them more as they are mainly nocturnal and do not like open areas with no cover during the daytime.
Why is it that these people can't see this?

The FC wanted their mandate, well hogwatch and some blood thirsty, ignorant councillors and our MP Mark Harper gave it to them. We are now seeing the result of this as when political figures wage war on our wildlife, certain individuals think it is OK to take the law into their own hands as they believe this is what the powers to be actually wants.

When this is finally over, if it ever stops, the people (all of them) responsible for inciting wildlife hatred will be held accountable and if there is found to be wild crime, we will do everything we can to make sure they are prosecuted.
They know who they are!

The following photographs will be shocking to some, but I am not apologising as they need to be seen.












I also found this wild boar a couple of years ago, in the Forest of Dean. He had been decapitated and cut open.
Not a nice sight to walk up on.





Friday, 7 March 2014

MASS CULL GETS GO AHEAD

*WILD BOAR LATEST*

We are talking about many animals lives, which are at stake, so please excuse the multiple posts regarding wild boar.

This is evidence that the vast majority of people who are "for" a mass cull of boar in the Forest of Dean, do not know what the hell they are talking about.

Quote - "These animals breed three times a year and control of them is best done through a shot gun, however the Forestry Commission must take advice from experts beforehand."

Read the full article HERE

FACT - Wild boar have a gestation period of 120 days (or nearly 4 months). 
They suckle and then wean their young for a further 3 months.
So how the hell can a sow give birth 3 times a year? They will struggle with two. It is impossible!

These idiotic morons are comparing "wild living" wild boar to domestic pigs, which have their food supplied and their young taken away so they can breed again.
Also, in the wild, wild boar have limited offspring (ranging between 3 & 8) as unlike domestic pigs, which can have high numbers of offspring, wild boar have to find enough food to keep their little ones and themselves alive.

One councillor once said "put a ring through their noses, that will stop them rooting."
DOING THIS WILL STOP THEM FEEDING ALL TOGETHER. But perhaps this is what he wanted, for them all to starve to death?

This is why this "MASS" cull should be stopped and these idiots silenced and kicked out of office for animal cruelty!

And as for the anti-boar group called hogwatch (led and run by local people), they should be ashamed of themselves. ALL OF THEM! 
And before any of them ask, I was born a Forester and I have always lived in the heart of the Forest of Dean and always will.

Animal cruelty and wildlife persecution at the highest level. All responsible will be held accountable after this mindless and unwarranted slaughter.

Take a look below and then ask yourself why this animal is running scared and encroaching closer to residential areas?

  • Hundreds of acres of forest felled over the last two years and this is habitat loss for this species as they prefer cover during the daytime. Cover, which has been taken from them
  • Thousands of boar shot since they first arrived in the Forest of Dean through......
  • Legal and illegal private land shoots
  • Poaching
  • Dozens killed in RTA's over the years
We also lose boar due to natural migration out of the Forest of Dean.

None of the above has been touched on at all by the people who want them dead, while this mass cull has been pushed through. 
Disgraceful that our councillors, the FC, MP Mark Harper and anti-boar group hogwatch have not given this one thought.
Shocking persecution over some overturned grass at the side over the road and scaremongering, which we see with so many of our wildlife species. The grass will grow back and it will cover up the dirt during the summer months, but this is not good enough for the people who want a perfectly manicured road verge, so they can park their car on it!!!

I truly hope that all involved in this horrific activity are pleased with themselves, but they will be tarnished with this for the rest of their lives.
Why do they think the FC is willing to shoot hundreds of boar? Because they are soon to become a self-funding body and as boar can fetch up to £300 per carcass, this will give their bank balance a massive boost.
400 boar with an average price of £200 per-animal = £80,000!!!

Below is a map, a simple, crude map of the Forest of Dean. Each red dot resembles 6 wild boar, totalling 864 boar.
A massive proportion of this area is now clearfell, so as you can see, if we have this many wild boar, they would be walking down every street in the county as like I mentioned earlier, they do not like open areas in the daytime.
The reality is that we have around 500 to 600 boar present at this time and if they take out 400 boar, this will leave us with between 100 and 200.
If we reduce their numbers this low, it could result in inbreeding, leading to a dirty gene pool, disease and birth defects.



This is FACT and this is the reality of what is happening in the Forest of Dean today. A dark cloud has descended over our county, caused by a minority (hogwatch) that handed a petition
of 2,000 signatures to the council, which is just 2% of the population.
Democracy? NO "persecution" from the FC, councillors, MP and hogwatch!


And Finally...........


The piglet below if from the sounder above. Less than a week after this photo was taken, she had died from starvation and a lack of her mothers milk!



I worked with Andy Rouse on a project for 2020Vision and we concentrated on this sounder. Andy wrote about it HERE

I did return and watched them slowly vanish, one by one as they died!


Rob 










Friday, 21 February 2014

Statement from UKWBA

Since our meeting with the Forestry Commission last August, there has been a lot going on, regarding the wild boar in the Forest of Dean.
Sadly, all involved parties have chosen not to involve us, UKWBA.
The reason for this is simple as organisations including the FC, Council; individuals including MP Mark Harper and a group of local people known as Hogwatch are pushing for a mass cull of boar here, in the Forest of Dean.
As we have been ignored and silenced in the press, we have been left with no option but to publicly condemn the proposed mass cull on social media and it has also forced us to release the following statement.

Statement HERE

The main reason for this statement is that if the FC go ahead and shoot 400+ boar over the next 12 months, this could and probably will see wounded boar roaming our forest as not all will be cleanly killed.
I have personally had more up close encounters with the boar than I can remember, but I would not want to come face to face with a wounded one!
We will also see orphaned piglets starving to death in our forest as they will shoot all year round.
If they hit this species hard, the boar will naturally look on every human as a threat to their lives, which is not the case at present and this could lead to an incident.
We (UKWBA) are more than aware that if an incident occurs during this bloodbath, the FC and the anti-boar minority will not accept responsibility and they will try and place the blame at our feet. This is why we can no longer campaign against this unjustified, unethical and mismanaged mass cull.

OF COURSE the boar require management, but today, many years since the boar were released into the FoD, nobody can put a realistic population number against them. It is still guesswork.
I have recently heard numbers ranging from 250 to 2,000 and the shocking part is that both are way off. My personal feeling is that we have around 500-550 boar present in the FoD today, but this will shortly rise due to spring births.

Poaching, legal land shooting, natural death, migration out of the FoD and road kill are never taken into account when a cull target is set. This is something that has to change and that people must be aware of when they scream for this animal to be butchered in their hundreds.

Below is a map of the Forest of Dean with each red dot equating to 6 wild boar, totalling 864 animals. As you can see, if we have as many boar as some people believe, we would be seeing them in every single patch of woodland, but this is not the case as you can still walk for miles without seeing or even hearing one. 

Over the last couple of years we have also lost hundreds of acres of forest due to clear felling and you will not see wild boar in these areas during the daytime as they prefer cover.
Taking the clear fell areas into account, you can add many more red dots to this map!

It is more than understandable that some people who live in what I would call a privileged area, backing onto woodland, will complain about the boar as they root around their property, but what I don't like and will never agree with is the fact that within their boundary there is exposed dirt and this is OK, yet as soon as dirt is exposed outside their boundary the animals responsible must die.
These people are very lucky that there isn't another being, more superior to them, asking for us to be killed for exposing dirt in our gardens!

A small minority of people, who I know of, but will not disclose their names just yet, are also using every tactic available to demonise this animal so that they can see them killed in their hundreds.  

After the mass cull has ended, we will see just how many boar are left!!!

Our forest is being ripped to pieces, the ground damaged beyond repair by FC contractor vehicles and our wildlife butchered, yet these people are oblivious to the fact that if you chop down habitat, the creatures must go somewhere and this is forcing them closer to residential areas and small hamlets more than ever, but so what, blame and kill the wildlife to keep our perfect little lives!

Sadly the Forest of Dean is now a place rife with wildlife persecution by a minority rubbing shoulders with the butchers walking our forest with rifles, oblivious that it is all about the revenue that this animal brings in, to a struggling Government organisation.

A few images of boar below, all taken in the Forest of Dean.

Sow - Shot, killed leaving orphaned piglets

Sow - Shot

Sow - Shot, killed leaving orphaned piglets


Sow - Shot, killed leaving orphaned piglets

Sow - Shot, killed leaving orphaned piglets


Rob

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Wild Boar Cull Update & a Few Pics

The wild boar have been present in the Forest of Dean for nearly 10 years now and for the last 6 or 7 of these, the anti-boar brigade come out of hiding at this time of the year with their rants.
The rants have been at a surprisingly low level compared to recent years, except for one local area, or Hamlet as the local press refers to it.

Two gentlemen who live in the quaint little Hamlet, tucked deep into the Forest of Dean recently went to the BBC with their complaints regarding the wild boar.
If you are interested, the article can be found HERE
As they were quick enough to go to the BBC with their concerns and comments, I am sure they will be more than eager to know what other people think. 

So here goes...

Now I have no objection to people complaining as this is their right, but to move (recently) into an area, which is about as deep into the forest as you can get, where wild boar are known to be and have been living wild for many years, and giving that the one residence is a pub. Surely they expected wildlife on their doorstep?

To do this, knowing very well that the boar were there and to now ask for the wildlife to be exterminated is basically, in my opinion, sick!

The Forestry Commission are currently culling (managing) the wild boar in the Forest of Dean, but this isn't enough for certain folk, as they are saying "not enough are being killed" and they want them completely eradicated.
What I would like to know is where these people stand when it comes to wildlife ecology? Do they have a PhD in wildlife management, wild boar, wildlife/forest ecology? No they don't, so their venting is based on a pure hatred for this animal and nothing more.

Everyone has a right to live in any area they want to, but if you choose to live in an area where you know "what wildlife is present" and then ask for it to be exterminated because you don't like it and want perfectly manicured Forestry Commission land outside your boundary fence is ridiculous and persecution beyond words.

At least the wild boar has some heavyweights behind them, backing them up in the form of Andy Rouse & Chris Packham who became our Patrons last year.


Andy Says... (photo coming soon)

"The Wild Boar was a native species in the UK for thousands of years playing an intrinsically important role in our landscapes ecology.
Now it has returned to some areas we need to adapt to accept its presence and manifest a rational tolerance to its behaviours and impacts on our lives.
It is a real and very positive agent amongst our impoverished and persecuted fauna.
Please live and let the boar live too"



Chris Says...


Chris Packham - Patron to UKWBT


I am sure that the professionals, charged with the management of the wild boar in the Forest of Dean will not bow down and give in to these persecutors and do what is right for the animal and the forest, and manage them correctly.

What I would love more than anything, is for either one of the gentlemen screaming for the boar's blood to ask me to "put up with it" as I would gladly swap my modest town home for a home, deep in the forest surrounded by wildlife. I would be in heaven and I can only but hope that they take me up on the offer, but I don't think this will be happening!

One of the main problems with wild boar hanging around residential areas is down to the fact that people are feeding them and although UKWBT has spend hundreds of pounds on more than one campaign to help see this stopped, unfortunately it is still happening and we are still getting reports of feeding and tame boar throughout the Forest of Dean.

The image below shows a male boar nicknamed (Freddy the Freeloader) at a popular picnic site in the Forest of Dean, walking brazenly amongst locals and tourists during the summer.
Now ask yourself this question. Is this the fault of the animal or is this the fault of the people responsible for habituating him, causing his to lose his natural fear of humans be feeding him?
Remember, every wild animal we tame, we are forever responsible for. 

Freddy - Fed regularly and lost his fear of humans

Well, I suppose we only have to take this persecution until late January early February and then the grass will grow back and the boar can breath a sigh of relief until the Autumn of 2014, when the rants will start again!


Now, to put you in good spirits here are are a few images from the archives. I haven't been able to get out recently due to a ruptured disk in my back, but with Autumn around the corner at least we have some wonderful colours to look forward to (I'm just glad boar can't climb trees!!!)


Pond Skater

Melanistic Adder Basking

Female Adder Basking

Same Female - Macro Portrait

Autumn - Forest of Dean

Autumn - Forest of Dean

Autumn - Forest of Dean

Amethyst Deceiver 

Extra Large Fungi!

Rob

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Wild Boar - More Dangerous than Guns & Drugs?

Forest & Wye Valley Review - Wednesday 2nd October 


PLEASE READ - THIS IS IMPORTANT AND FACTUAL - NOT JUST ANOTHER BOAR STORY!

Tell me something PLEASE, is it just me or is wild boar rooting in the Forest of Dean more important than guns and drugs being seized in the county?
So why is it that the Review Newspaper seems to think it is?

Has the FoD gone mad, or maybe just the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Review with it's wildlife hating editor?

Yes, of course boar rooting is an issue for some and deserves a place in the media, but this newspaper (The Review), nor any of the other local publications for that matter actually takes the time to go into detail as to why this happens "at this time of year, every year."
Do they even know why the boar root at this time of the year?

And I wonder who chose the words - "Questions are being asked about the future of wild boar in the Dean."
The Editor again no doubt? So, Mr. *****, please don't forget that you are talking about a living creature, which has as much right to live as any other creature on this planet, including human beings. They are being killed as we speak so don't bloody say nothing is being done to control them either!!!

Someone, or rather a few are getting very rich off these animals and it doesn't need a mathematician to work out that there are hundreds of boar being killed legally and illegally every year, as I have detailed below.

Where is the money going?
Do this animal some justice and do some PROPER research and please answer this in your next article Mr. Editor.

Consider yourself lucky that no other mammal alive today has the capability to cull as we do, as you can be sure, we would be No1 on the list!

You will find below, some simple arithmetic, which will hopefully show that, like I said, hundreds of boar are being slaughtered right under our noses every year.
Why doesn't this make it into the media? Because like I said, someone is getting very rich off this and as well as upsetting these people with guns, it also means someone has to do some "real reporting."

The below is based on averages, with each sow giving birth once a year and successfully raising 4 young.

Year 1
100 boar present with 50% being female
50 females successfully raise 4 young per season (average)
Coupled with original 100, this gives us 300
20% mortality rate - Legal/illegal killing, RTA's & natural death
This leaves us with 240

Year 2
240 boar present with 50% being female
120 females successfully raise 4 young per season (average)
Coupled with original 240, this gives us 720
20% mortality rate - Legal/illegal killing, RTA's & natural death
This leaves us with 576

THIS IS WHERE IT STARTS TO GET INTERESTING

Year 3
576 boar present with 50% being female
288 females successfully raise 4 young per season (average)
Coupled with original 576, this gives us 1,728
20% mortality rate - Legal/illegal killing, RTA's & natural death
This leaves us with 1,382

Year 4
1,382 boar present with 50% being female
691 females successfully raise 4 young per season (average)
Coupled with original 1,382, this gives us 2,073
20% mortality rate - Legal/illegal killing, RTA's & natural death
This leaves us with 1,658

Year 5
1,658 boar present with 50% being female
829 females successfully raise 4 young per season (average)
Coupled with original 1,658, this gives us 4,975
20% mortality rate - Legal/illegal killing, RTA's & natural death
This leaves us with 3,980

I photographed my first wild boar late in 2004. That is nearly 10 years ago, not five as detailed above, so you can add at least another 2,500 to this number = 6,480 boar unaccounted for.

It was recently admitted by the Forestry Commission that we currently have, in the region of 535 boar in the Forest of Dean in 2013.
So how do they account for the FIVE THOUSAND, NINE HUNDRED AND FORTY FIVE BOAR, which should be here?

To all the critics who say that wild boar can have multiple births per-year AND have in excess of 12 offspring per-birth, "YOU" can quadruple this number.
So, if you "THE SO CALLED BOAR EXPERTS" are right, where are the 23,780 boar?

I have no idea how much is paid on the black market for wild boar meat, but let's just say it is £2 per-pound and that each animal weighs an "average" of 150lbs.
£300 per animal multiplied by a modest 3,000 boar = £900,000. Yep, that is close to ONE MILLION POUNDS!

Now, this is aimed directly at the people who "ARE" getting rich off these animals. How about anonymously donating some money to the unfortunate people who lose their lawns, football pitches and see high vet bills?
Surely £300 from £900,000 is hardly going to break the bank is it?

To the Review - Please try and report the whole facts instead of just persecuting an animal, which didn't ask to be here in the first place by the way?
Cheers!
;-)







Rob

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Flee or Die?

I should have just copied and pasted my post from this time last year, but I will make this one unique and start from fresh again.

It's that time of the year and unfortunately the wild boar have made their presence known throughout the area, rooting around the road verges and in (one reported) instance, rooting up someone's lawn.

Article HERE

The next four to five months will see a bombardment from people screaming for the boar to be killed and even eradicated from the area due to them rooting over the road verges.
I understand that if boar manage to enter private property, they can do an awful amount of damage and this can be heartbreaking for the owners.
Apart from erecting a sturdy fence or building a wall high enough to stop them, there really isn't much that can be done to stop them if they are attracted to the property.
All it takes is for fruit from a tree to be lying on the ground, or waste food and this will be enough to attract them.

I really do feel for the people, which lose their lawns in this way and I also understand that not everyone has the money to secure their perimeter, so they really are left in despair.

The Forestry Commission are currently culling 135 wild boar in the Forest of Dean and if I was in this situation, I would be asking them to concentrate on the areas that are seeing boar rooting around, or on private land as this will stop the problem and the FC can leave the boar alone, in the middle of the forest where they are causing no harm to anyone.

Moving on to the present cull of 135 animals. Without information (through the Freedom of Information Act), I can only assume that boar are being culled in the forest, away from residential areas and we must once again ask the question. "Why is it that we see a cull at this time every year and at precisely the same time we see an increase in activity around the roadside and residential areas?"
Are the boar being forced to seek out safer locations, away from the guns? I have said this before, but if someone was walking down the street shooting my neighbours, I would not just sit there and wait for my turn, I would either fight back, or run.
The boar are running and this has also been touched on, in a slightly different way with the badgers. With badgers it is called the perturbation effect, where a threatened badger will flee the sett in search of safer ground, taking TB with it, if it is infected.
The boar are fleeing the safety of the area they are in and as the Forestry Commission can not shoot near residential areas, this is where the boar feel safe.
They are very smart animals and they are trying to stay alive, nothing more. All the FC has to do is concentrate on the boar, in the areas where the problems are occurring and push them back into the forest.
I mean lets face it, if they are being pushed out, why not shoot near the edges and push them back in as they will then feel that the periphery is not safe, whereas the denser parts are!

We are too quick to scream kill kill kill, but how many people have actually stopped for just one second to look in the mirror as we have caused more damage in the Forest of Dean than the boar will "ever cause."

The difference is that our damage is irreversible, whereas the boar are actually airing and cultivating the soil.
Slight difference there and it really should not be referred to as damage "all the time!"

Wild Boar Sow - in the Forest 

Wild Boar Sow with Piglets - in the Forest

Wild Boar Sow Rooting - in the Forest

Wild Boar Rooting on Industrial Estate During the Cull of 2010

Sow

Rob

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Boaring Dragonflies

Here is an update for all things wildlife related, that I have been up to over the last few weeks.

WILD BOAR

I attended a meeting on Monday 19th August at the Forestry Commission offices to discuss wild boar populations and the planned management for 2013/14.
After the meeting, neither side were happy with the outcome, but at least we managed to come to a compromise.
Full details will come soon.

Meanwhile, here are some recent boar photographs, taken in the Forest of Dean. Light conditions were poor and for all you photo geeks out there I used the following settings.

f/5
ISO 3,200
Manual exposure -1
1/60 second
Hand held - (Like a Rock)

One of this years piglets

Sow, rooting for grubs

Sow, rooting for grubs

Found a grub!

Does my snout look big in this?


DRAGONFLIES

Anyone who has tried to capture dragonflies in flight will know that this is no easy task. They are continually on the move and you have to be very patient.

I sat by an old tree overlooking a pond and waited for one to come my way. It was getting dusky so I dropped the exposure by three stops and popped in some flash to arrest them in flight.
This also gave the impression that I photographed them at night.

Southern Hawker Dragonfly

Southern Hawker Dragonfly


ADDER SURVEY

I headed out to one of my best locations for adders a few days ago, knowing that it was going to be tough due to the length of the grass and bracken.
It proved virtually impossible but I didn't give in. This was what was in front of me.

Adder Habitat
Its hard to imagine that adders favour this, but in the grass are loads of old, disused ant hills and the adders bask on top and around them.
I managed to find four adders (or rather they found me), but after I nearly stood on one and two more hissed at me before I saw them, it was time to call it a day.
This will prove yet again to be my best recording site for 2013. I just need to wait a few more weeks.


INSECTS

I decided to check out the insects at this site and I wasn't disappointed. Loads of butterflies were swarming around the heather and although I really wanted to photograph an adder, my attention soon turned to the insects.

Gatekeeper

Small Copper

Common Blue


AND FINALLY

Our 2014 charity calendar is not ordered and ready for delivery, so please follow the link at the end of this post to order.
100% of all profits will go to the following...

Macmillan Cancer Care
Maggies Cancer Care Centres
Wildlife Trust



To order a calendar, please click HERE


Rob