Thursday, 29 September 2011

What a "Waste!"

If you live in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley area, you will probably be aware that yet another white fallow buck has died!
Not from being involved in a collision with a car like the last one, but from discarded rope getting tangled in his antlers and then with a melanistic (black) bucks antlers as they fought, during rutting. Sadly the white buck died before he could be saved and as these animals are quite rare, it was very sad news.

Story Here

The white buck was a lot younger than the black buck and this would have meant he was not as strong, hence the reason why he perished first. If the two lads hadn't found them, the black buck would have perished also. Basically with a combination of factors ranging from stress, lactic acid build up and exhaustion, he didn't stand a chance and probably died from heart failure.
You can judge a buck's age from the size of his antlers and as you can see in the photograph, the white buck had significantly smaller antlers.

As many of you know, I write a wildlife column called Ward's Wildlife for a local newspaper, but I don't expect anyone can remember the very first article I wrote?
It was simply called "Fly Tipping" and it showed the consequences of what discarded material such as rope can have on our wildlife and environment.

Link to article on my blog as I can't find the original online. Warning, graphic photograph! Article Here

Some people just don't care and they don't give a damn about our wildlife. I know, I have met many of them in the forest over the years.
I just hope that when one of these people are eventually caught, the punishment will be an example to show the others that their behaviour is wrong and cruel, and will not be tolerated.
I urge everyone to report any fly tipping to me anonymously by email, thanks.


Friday, 23 September 2011

Great Response!

Following my recent column feature for Ward's Wildlife; "Volunteer for a Better Future", I am over the moon that 8 new volunteers have signed up to help Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust after reading my column.
This is great news and I am very pleased that I was able to help such a worthy cause.

Thank you to all who have already taken the step towards a better future for yourself and our wildlife!

Feature Here

Saturday, 17 September 2011

ITV West - Wild Boar

Click the link below for my recent TV slot with ITV West on the Wild Boar culling issue.
As part of a group I am petitioning DEFRA for seasonal protection for this animal. The majority of "my" filming was cut from the final piece as the Forestry Commission took over to try and justify the reasons for culling 12 months of the year.
As this piece was very biased, I will be filming myself to elaborate and put right the many errors and misguided comments from Ian Harvey.
This is not going away and there will be more. I have never been more determined about anything in my life and I will fight this until the end.

Watch this space.

Click Here for Film


Thursday, 15 September 2011

Monday, 12 September 2011

Wild Boar Update

I have just finished filming for ITV West; to be aired later this week after they have interviewed the Forestry Commission. The filming was to promote the need for seasonal protection for the boars. See reasons below and support us by signing the petition and joining our site. Thanks!

We have been living alongside wild boar in the Forest of Dean for the last seven years. During this time we have slowly seen and heard the scare tactics used by certain people, to gain support and justify the culling of this animal.
I don't know why these people feel they need to justify their actions as I, as an individual fully support the management of the wild boars, as I do with the deer. However, what I do not support is the culling of this animal all year round. The wild boars have an annual rut, which takes place near the end of November and after mating, the Wild boar sows have a gestation period of four months where she will not breed again.
All depending on the age and experience of the sow, she will usually give birth to between two and eight hoglets. These hoglets are dependant on the sows milk for three months and during this time the sow will not let "any" sexually mature male boars near her or her hoglets.
There has always been speculation that wild boars will breed all year round. This speculation is giving out false facts and making people think that as soon as they give birth, they breed again. I would like to point out to the powers to be, which think this is possible.... There are only 12 months in a year and for a wild boar to have two litters per year, there would need to be 14 months in a year!?!

The problem is that a lot of the studying and "so called" facts are coming from domesticated farmed animals, which have a food source supplied to them all year round. These are not wild animals like the boars we have living free in the forest, that have to rely on finding their own food.
One main concern is that the over culling of this animal will disrupt their normal breeding pattern. E.g. If a sows hoglets are taken out, natural instinct will tell the sow to breed again and the males will automatically oblige. This then puts an awful amount of stress on the sow as she has already endured four months of pregnancy and given birth.
This could lower her immune system and leave her susceptible to disease!

Now we must look at it from the hoglets point of view. If a sow, which has dependant young is taken out, the dependant hoglets will slowly perish without the support and nutrients they rely on from their mum.
If they are old enough to survive, they will have no experience, which would have been passed down from the sow. They will be living on their natural instincts, but this will not be enough for them in a world, which has changed since they last walked free here.
These orphaned hoglets will undoubtedly end up as either road kill, or as an easy target for the cull. Either way, this is not acceptable as a "correct management plan" exists to "manage" the population, not to shoot on sight as this is just glorified hunting.
The Forestry Commission recently estimated their to be between 200 and 350 wild boar in the Forest of Dean. That is one hell of a margin and this just proves that they have no idea "like everyone else" how many are actually here!
As already mentioned, I support the management of this animal, but only if it is done correctly and at present they are shooting on sight, an animal which they obviously know very little about.
If anyone from the Forestry Commission is reading this, let me share my one true reason with you as to why I am against your wild boar policy at present.

Firstly, you throw the scare tactics around like there is no tomorrow and you try and intimidate people to shut them up. The wild boar is a living creature that deserves and requires seasonal protection. If you can't control them with a closed season in place, I would just like to ask you where all the revenue is going from this once absent creature. You have killed way over 150 animals so far this year, so surely this has generated a substantial amount?
Why can't you have a "dedicated" team to manage them. I am sure the revenue generated would easily pay for the extra costs and with a closed season in place they will not be required on a full time basis all year round.
You have had 7 years to learn and manage these animals, yet in these 7 years it seems that you still know very little about them. Or is that you only print certain aspects from fear of being labeled as cruel? 7 years on and you still aren't putting the wild boars welfare first. They didn't ask to be here. It isn't their fault!
Only the other day, someone came up to me and said that if they were removed immediately when they were released, there wouldn't be a problem today.
You left them out there to breed, knowing what would happen and 7 years later you are still making excuses.

Like I said, these are living animals, which have dependant young. They are tight family units with strong bonds and "deserve" to be treated right!
I love all wildlife and as you know I work extremely hard with our native snakes each year. I never do anything for finantial gain as you also know and the wild boar mean no more or no less to me than any other living creature in the forest.
I will support you all they way, as long as they are being managed right and you put their welfare first.

Join our site... Friends of the Boar

Sign Petition here... Petition


Thursday, 8 September 2011

Snake found in Bedroom!

A Cheltenham resident has found a snake in his bedroom! A releaaed or escaped pet? No, an adder, Britain's only venomous snake.

Think I'm joking? Click here for the article


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Recent Article

Firstly I need to put a few things straight regarding this recent article.

1. I did not set up the petition; Paul Adkins did - Petition

2. I did not accuse the FC of killing lactating sows, as the article implies.

3. Severely misquoted and my children could have put together a better piece.

It is obvious that whoever wrote this just jumbled sentences together from fragments of information, to try and make a story.

TO THE EDITOR:- Try getting off your ass and doing a bit of journalistic work; you may find that you actually get the facts right, don't misquote people and provoke more interest.

Article Here