Saturday, 21 August 2010

My Reply

Again, a few comments regarding the wild boars, so I have decided to reply with another post as my comments were rather long.

They have been cage trapping them Adrian as well as shooting them, but it is not proving effective enough. They say they need more people on the ground.
What I am worried about is that they may hire hunters to help and this could be bad news as we could then start seeing orphaned hoglets.
If a feeding sow is killed and there are no other feeding sows in the sounder, the little ones will starve to death as they are dependant on their mums milk for up to 4mths.
And I expect this news has already spread, so the poachers will be out in force. Again shooting anything that moves, regardless of whether it is feeding young or no.

Wolves: Hah, I would love to hear the cries then. The people around here would probably make up a new nursery rhyme about how you will be eaten if you venture into the woods!
Seriously though, the Forest of Dean is not big enough (42 square miles) to re-introduce wolves.
After the boars have eaten a few thousand people, then the time will be right to introduce them!

Close the area to people who don't like wildlife: Now that's the best answer I have heard in a very long time. You know, there are dozens of other places around here where the wildlife haters can walk their dogs, without seeing anything larger than a rabbit, but they won't, why? They are not prepared to change their routine or their habits for the sake of our wildlife.
I know quite a few people who walk their dogs in the forest. Some of them hate the boars, yet still let their dogs run around off-lead. Others love seeing them, but keep their dogs on a retractable lead so they can easily pull them back.
Can you see a trend here? I call it respect and without it there will always be problems for some.

The recent death of the greyhound was sad, but this type of dog likes to chase things and should not be off the lead where wildlife is. Whether it slipped the lead or no, this dog was out of control – either that or the owner didn’t bother calling it back.
It's OK for a dog to chase and sometimes injure wildlife, but when wildlife chases and injures a dog, the owner kicks up holy hell!


Friday, 20 August 2010

Wild Boar Cull

The Forestry Commission has issued a press release today. They are apparently struggling to keep the boar numbers down to their agreed level.

Just a thought, but the Commission (Kevin Stannard?) has estimated that the boar’s numbers need to be reduced from 300 to 90. Surely the revenue made from the culling of 210 wild boars would pay for extra manpower, which is being blamed for them falling short of their targets.
Do you think this cull is too high, or do their numbers need to be kept this low for safety and management purposes?
Your comments will be appreciated.

Click HERE for article.


Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Wildlife Management

You will find a link below to my latest wildlife column. This colour on-line edition will only be available for one week, so I have copied the text below also.

Wildlife Management

The vast majority of our wildlife is capable of sustaining and managing itself. However, we now live in a world where deforestation and loss of habitat is making life very hard for a great number of our wildlife species.
Wildlife management takes many forms, but the one that has to be the most unpopular with animal lovers and with people who do not understand the importance of it has to be the culling of certain species.
Personally I don’t like this word as it gives the impression that an entire species is going to be wiped out. The term wildlife management instead of cull is more appropriate IMO.
Up until the 12th century, wolves roamed much of Britain without much of a threat from man and they helped with the natural process of predation. Edward the First ordered the extermination of the wolf in 1281 and by the late 16th to the early 17th century they were extinct from British soil. This may seem like a long time, but it has been reported that there were around 10,000 wolves in Britain at their peak and the mature breeding females from 10,000 wolves would have produced a lot of offspring every year!
The extinction of this animal in Britain left other animals like the deer with no natural predators. As a result, Scotland now has a problem with red deer and as the area is so vast, culling is proving inadequate. Talks are still continuing on the reintroduction of wolves to help with this problem.

In the Forest and Wye Valley, fallow and muntjac deer have one fawn per year, per doe whereas roe deer doe’s have two, usually of different sexes. The management of this species is easier when compared with a species that is capable of producing multiple offspring. Wild boar sows typically have between 3 and 8 young per sow, per year in the wild and although uncommon they can sometimes have two litters per year.
From these statistics alone, I don’t have to explain how this species could breed out of control if not managed.
I talked briefly about balance in my last article and this is a good example of how balance works, but also how it can be damaged. If we eradicate a predator, we must take over the management of the prey species or they will over populate and the consequences can be unimaginable. The species would become weak from lack of food and disease would then spread quickly throughout that species. In turn the disease could easily be transmitted to our other wildlife and even domestic animals.
No animal lover likes the thought of our wildlife being shot, but we must think logically and support the management of our wildlife.
One more thought. It is a long way off, but even if the wild boars become accepted in the Forest and Wye Valley, their numbers would still need to be controlled every year.


Sunday, 15 August 2010

Perseids Meteor Shower

On the 12th August, I photographed the Perseids meteor shower. This meteor shower happens once a year, but this was the first time I had a go at photographing it.
I pointed my camera in one area and left it there for over 3hrs, taking one photograph every 30 seconds.
There were big ones shooting by overhead, out of my cameras field of view, but I just left it pointing in the same place. I treated it like photographing wildlife, you can chase around trying to get the ultimate shot, when all you have to do is stay in one place and wait for it to come to you.

Photographed over the Forest of Dean at 23:49 on 12.08.2010.

Camera settings used....

Focal Length: 18mm
Manual Exposure
Manual Focus
Shutter Speed: 30 seconds
A/V: f/3.5
ISO: 1600

This is the typical faint streak we normally see. Small particles burning up through our atmosphere.

This was a biggy! When this meteor came burning through our atmosphere it lit up like a white fireball, which lasted around two seconds, hence the light generated.
My patience had paid off as it happened right where my camera was pointing. I have photographed lightning before and I felt the same feeling from this as I do when a big bolt of lightning explodes in front of my camera.
You can sit there all night and not capture this, so I was well chuffed.


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Fallow Deer

Here are a couple of fallow deer I bumped into earlier. It was raining, but that didn't seem to bother them and I was lucky that they were not bothered about my presence either!
None of the images have been cropped, but the light levels were low and I bumped the ISO up to 6400, hence a bit of noise!

Melanistic Fallow Doe - (Dama dama)

Melanistic Fallow Doe - (Dama dama)

Common Fallow Doe - (Dama dama)