Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Closed Season - Petition, please sign!

Although I agree that the wild boars require management and I fully support this. I am against the culling of this animal all year round.
Wild boar sows usually have between 1 and 8 dependant young in the wild and these piglets rely on their mums milk for the first 3 months of their life.
For this reason alone, these magnificent animals deserve the luxury of a closed season. Something, which is already in place for our deer throughout the country' that also have dependant young.

This is not a dig at anyone, its just time that everyone saw these animals for what they really are. Wild, living creatures.

Please sign the petition below. You don't have to leave a comment, just your signature and it only takes 1 minuet. Thanks!

Sign petition Here


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Mutilated Fox!


Hopefully someone can help me with what I found the other day. I came across a dead fox in a layby. I have seen many dead foxes and this didn't shock me, but I have never seen one, which had had its tail brush and ears removed.
The fox had been neatly scalped with a sharp knife, removing both ears completely along with a large part of the scalp and the tail brush was removed at the base, leaving the fully intact tail bone. Indicating that this was not done by an animal.

Here are the pics. It was dark so excuse the quality.

"Again - if you are easily offended, please do not scroll down."

If anyone has seen this before or knows why someone has done this, please let me know thanks.
I suspect this is someone who thinks they can use the ears and tail as a trophy of some kind, but that is just a guess.


Friday, 19 August 2011

The Deer and the Butterfly

The colours are still awesome out there at the moment, with greens and yellows everywhere. It wont be long before the greens turn a golden brown as the autumn sets in and the yellows disappear though. So I made the most of it!

I asked this fallow doe if she had seen any wild boars on her travels and she said "they went thatta way!"

A little further on and I came across another doe with her fawn. I asked them the same question and they said....

I think they went in there?

I must be losing it!

I didn't find any wild boars, but I did come across a Speckled Wood butterfly resting on some yellow flowers. I think its a female and she has obviously come a cropper with a bird, which has taken part of her wing.


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Open Season!

Below you will find a link to my latest newspaper column. It focuses on the wild boar once again and I hope you will find the time to share your views and comment. Just open the link and search for the feature "Open Season". You will also see a link for 2020 Vision, this will become relevent when you start reading.

I have also pasted the unedited text below the links.

Open Season

2020 Vision 2020Vision will be featured on BBC Countryfile on Sunday 14th August.

Open Season

The Wild Boars will always be a hot topic while they are here in the Forest of Dean and this is why I need to highlight them again.
Whether you love them or hate them, they are living creatures and nobody with a heart would want to see an animal suffer, but that is exactly what is happening in our wonderful forest.
During the early part of 2011 I worked very hard with a friend; world famous wildlife photographer and conservationist Andy Rouse and together, deep in the forest we tracked and monitored a sounder of wild boars for the most ambitious conservation visual media initiative ever staged in Britain. This initiative is called 2020 Vision and all details of this project can be found online.
After finding the boars the next stage was for Andy to photograph them in the wild, in their natural habitat.
All was going well and it was great to see eight young piglets emerge with their proud mum in early March. However, on 31st March while out checking on them I found all eight piglets wandering, or rather running around the forest alone! Alarm bells started to ring right away as I have never seen a sow leave her piglets on their own in the past and as they were still on their own 4 hours later, I knew that the sow had to be dead.
I photographed this sounder the previous week and the sow was healthy, indicating that she had not succumbed to an illness or disease. Poachers may have taken her, but as the location was deep in the forest I am not so sure.
I had to tell Andy that day and it was then that I realised how close he had become to this sounder. He was emotionally gutted and for the “first time in my LIFE”, I felt ashamed of the way our wildlife was being treated in the Forest of Dean.
At present there is no closed season on the culling of wild boars and in my personal opinion, this is morally wrong as the piglets are dependant on their mum’s milk for around 3 months.
Other feeding sows have been known to take over feeding responsibilities if another sow, which has dependant piglets, dies, but this did not happen with the little ones we were monitoring and slowly they disappeared.
Basically when these little ones lost their mum it was no different to a human mother taking away her baby’s milk within the first month of its life!
Whoever took out this sow is aware of what they did and they also understood the implications of what will have happened to the piglets. In short they were doomed to suffer an agonising death from malnutrition and starvation. The welfare of the wild boars in the Forest of Dean needs to be addressed IMMEDIATELY.
Predominantly, the majority of wild boar births happen in the spring, so the implementation of a closed season would have to be from late February to early June or until the piglets have lost their dependency on their mum’s milk. However, the sows have a gestation period of approximately four months, so I feel the culling of pregnant sows is also morally wrong.
I understand that the wild boar has no natural predators in the UK today and like our deer they require management, but what if there were little deer fawns running around out there, left on their own to die? Would that be acceptable, would it? I think not and as the wild boars are tight family units with strong bonds, they deserve to be treated in the same way as our deer, which have the luxury of a closed season!
To date (7 years) no human has been attacked by a wild boar in the UK and this is something that needs to be realised by the powers to be, which are calling for their eradication.
Not the best start for the Forest of Dean’s involvement in Britain’s most ambitious conservation project!


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Asda Response

Thanks for your comments below on the bTB issue. I contacted Asda's CEO and this was their reply.

Dear Robin

Thanks for taking the time to contact Andy Clarke about the proposed badger cull. As part of Andy's Executive Relations Team, I'm available to respond to customer's on his behalf.

Please be assured, Asda are not in favour of the government plans to address bovine TB, contrary to the rumours circulating on the internet.

We're aware of the debate and acknowledge the genuinely held beliefs on both sides of the argument. However, we have never taken a view on this, and we can't see this changing in the future.

Thanks again for contacting us, if there is anything else I can help with, please let me know.

Kind regards

Roselyn Walker
Executive Relations Team

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Asda Support Badger Cull!

The ignorance from this man is astounding and it is blatantly obvious that he is acting on commands passed down to him from senior management. It is also obvious that he has no understanding of bTB in the UK today.
What makes it even more absurd is that this statement has been issued before an accurate public response to the badger cull has been announced.
This could and probably will backfire on Asda, but one thing is for sure - they will carry the label as a supermarket that holds its profits in higher regard, than our wildlife!

A Email below from Adam Bagnall, ASDA Service Team.

Thank you for taking the time to email Asda about dairy UK Position on Bovine TB July 2011.

Healthy dairy cows and a healthy badger population is the goal in seeking to eradicate bovine TB through the implementation of a carefully managed science-led programme of badger control.

Bovine TB is one of the most serious problems facing the dairy industry at present. It continues to spread throughout England and Wales, resulting in the slaughter of tens of thousands of dairy cows every year and inflicting severe damage on the financial and emotional well-being of many hundreds of dairy farmers and the rural communities they are part of.

Urgent and effective action needs to be taken to address this disease, which impacts on the health and welfare of wild and farmed animals alike. As such we fully support the Government's decision to implement a science based approach to tackling Bovine TB.

Thank you once again for taking the time to email Asda and If there is anything else I can help you with, please let me know.

Kind regards

Adam Bagnall
ASDA Service Team