Sunday, 29 January 2012

If You Go Out In The Woods Today!

We already have wild boar, roe, fallow and muntjac deer in the Forest of Dean, but soon we could see more pretty impressive mammals roaming the forest!
Proposals are being put together, which if passed will see cattle, horses and ponies grazing parts of the forest.
One thing I will say is that they have mentioned fencing parts of the forest. I wonder if this was ever considered where the wild boars are concerned? I doubt it!
Personally I look forward to these proposals being approved as the sheep, even though a nusiance to motorists, did a bloody good job grazing the forest. Since the Foot and Mouth outbreak in 2001 we hardly have any grazing sheep in the forest, so it will be fantastic to see free grazing mammals like cattle and ponies taking over where they left off.

Click here for article


Friday, 20 January 2012

Wild Boar Cull Suspended!

As the majority of people know, I have been campaigning for a closed season on the culling of wild boar in the Forest of Dean for quite a few years now.
This campaign has been an upward struggle, not only with the Governing bodies that hand down controversial policies, which are then put into practice, but also trying to dispel the scaremongering that can be seen on a regular basis in local and sometimes national newspapers.
The Forestry Commission have announced that they have suspended their proposed cull for 2012, until September. This is very welcome news and I thank the people responsible for making this happen, especially Dave Slater and Joyce Moss from Friends of the Boar. However, this is, in their own words an experimental closed season so the fight will continue until a closed season is implemented as policy every year, not just for 2012.

The wild boar numbers in the Forest of Dean are at critical level. To some this may sound foolish as wild boar evidence can still be seen on the road verges etc. However, what the majority of people do not understand is that it only takes one boar to overturn at least 100 metres of road verge in just one night.
This is not "damage", this is natural behaviour from an animal searching for food.
The reason the wild boars numbers are so low at present can only be the result of over culling and it may take a few years for their numbers to return to healthy levels.
When a species feels threatened it will do everything in its power to survive and this usually results in the production of more offspring. If the human race was under threat, how would we secure the survival of our species? We would breed!
If the wild boars know they can breed without the threat of being hunted and killed, over time we will see a self sustainable, healthy population, but for this to happen we need to be brave and accept them, respect them and only manage them when necessary, e.g. nuisance animals, aggression and to keep their numbers to an acceptable level, which has been scientifically proven.

I am over the moon that they have the luxury of being able to breed and ween their hoglets through the spring into the summer of 2012, but this experimental closed season must be made policy if this species is to survive.

Click here for a recent BBC feature regarding this issue

Click here for a Local Media story

I also filmed with ITV West today; to be aired at 18.00hrs tonight.
Click Here

Friends of the Boar

Petition - Please Sign


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Warm, Cold and Confusing!

What a weird month it has been so far. First we have temperatures around 12 oC, then within a day or two they are at -3 oC (last night) and now there is talk of them returning to around 12 oC later this week!
You may be forgiven if you are thinking, "well it is winter", but when the temperature hit 12 oC earlier this month it confused a lot of our wildlife into thinking spring had come early.
Firstly there was a hedgehog rooting around my garden and secondly there was a red admiral butterfly basking in the forest. January is not a month where we should be seeing these creatures and I just hope that it has not jeopardised their survival!
There have also been reports of blooming flowers, such as daffodils, a flower, which usually blooms in February.
Snowdrops have also been blooming and I am concerned that the recent freezing temperatures may have killed them off, not to return when they should. Remember, these flowers aren't there to just look pretty; they play a vital role in our gardens and countryside with our insects, which "we" rely on for our own survival.

January Hedgehog.

January Red Admiral Butterfly.

There is one thing that you can be sure will be there every month, whether it is raining, snowing or sunny and that is the fly tipper!


Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy 2012!

At the start of 2011, I along with many others had no idea what the future held for our forests in the UK. As the months passed, the support and passion from local people soon became evident and it also became clear to our Government and local MP's that we were not going to give up our forests without a fight!
When the day came that our Government backtracked on its plans to privatise our forests, it was a massive relief for me as I didn't want to imagine the devastation these plans could have on our forests and the wildlife living within. My very sincere thanks to all who put their weight behind the HooF campaign and also to the many who supported this cause with so much passion.
The forests mean so much to many of us, for many different reasons. The time I spend in the forest with our varied and healthy wildlife can never be topped and I hope that it will always be out there for future generations to enjoy. For this reason we must always be ready to stand up and fight again and again and again if the fire reignites!

2012 will undoubtedly bring its hardships and personal battles to many of us, but there is something out there; something that has the capability to help us through the toughest of times, and that is nature. If you are looking for a way to escape the stress of modern life and the worries it brings, take nature into your life and realise what life is really about.
I wish you all the best for 2012.

Below are some of my favourite photographs of wildlife from the last 12 months in the Forest of Dean....

And finally, a photograph that for me "is" the Forest of Dean. The wild boars may have been illegally released and they may not be every ones cup of tea. However, they are here to stay and I for one will keep up the fight until they are given the status and protection the deserve.

Happy 2012!