Tag Archives: British wildlife

Raccoon Dogs Living Wild In The UK?

Recent calls from the RSPCA for the sale of Raccoon Dogs in the UK to be banned amid sporadic reports of some living wild in the country, has once again put invasive species back in the spotlight. This charismatic canid has gained a loyal following, primarily due to its endearing appearance, and can be bought online for as little as £150 – currently making it flavour of the month as an exotic pet. Whether it’s the sale online, or otherwise, of a popular exotic animal that soon becomes unwanted due to its acute unsuitability as a pet; or escapees from a wildlife park or zoo – the pattern of events is depressingly familiar and often ends in a cull instead of capture.

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How To Take Better Wildlife Photos

Song Thrush

I thought it was about time I compiled some hints and tips for taking that perfect wildlife shot, having spent many years trying to do just that, albeit just as an enthusiastic amateur.  So here are some points to consider the next time you venture out.  Much of it will also apply to wildlife spotting best practice too.

  • Maximise your chances of seeing something by going out at dawn and dusk.  Obviously not applicable to all countries, but particularly relevant in Britain, where so much of the fauna is nocturnal or crepuscular.
  • Familiarise yourself with all of your camera’s settings.
  • Think about the wind direction and avoid wearing strong smelling fragrances.

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England’s Most Endangered Wildlife To Benefit From Lottery Funding

A partnership of seven leading UK conservation organisations, led by Natural England, has been formed to protect the country’s most vulnerable wildlife; such as the Sand Lizard, Grey Long-eared Bat, Willow Tit and Duke of Burgundy Butterfly.  A total of 138 species will be protected by the new ‘Back From The Brink’ project, following the £4.6 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.  The money will be used to conserve 20 species which are deemed to be close to extinction, as well as providing resources to improve the survival rates of another 118 species and hopefully provide a long-term framework for wildlife conservation in which the government will work closely with charities and volunteers.

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Garden Rewilding

General June 2015 225

There’s been a lot of talk recently in Britain about grand plans for ‘ecological restoration’.  But what about rewilding on a smaller scale?  At a time when our garden wildlife is suffering from the effects of overly manicured lawns, pesticide-laden vegetation and a general lack of habitat connectivity, there’s never been a better time to inject some much needed wildness into your garden.  Here are some suggestions on how to go about it and some information on the species that could benefit as a result. Continue reading Garden Rewilding

Hedgehog in the Garden

Pleased to say I’ve just captured plentiful amounts of hedgehog footage on my remote camera, having not seen a live one in my home region since 2007.  After glimpsing it briefly in my parents garden a few days ago during the afternoon, I put out some wet cat food for it on the patio, in the hope of seeing it up close.  Being naturally nocturnal, seeing it at this time indicates that it’s probably suffering from an illness, although it’s not lost its appetite and is moving around normally.  It looks a tad underweight, however, it’s likely to be a juvenile and will not have yet reached its optimum size.  Having mated during May and June, now is the time when the offspring move out from their nest to find their own territory.

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A Yearning For Rewilding

Found myself reminiscing today about a trip to Tasmania in 2006, and specifically, time spent exploring the Cradle Mountain National Park.  The fond memories have been intertwined with an increasing disillusionment I have with the habitats and wildlife in my home country of Scotland, where experiencing wild animal encounters are a rarity and biodiversity is in short supply, particularly in relation to mammals.  The variety, although severely lacking compared with many other countries, isn’t the main problem – it’s the sparse distribution of much of the fauna and the lack of habitat connectivity.

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Badger and Fox Encounter

So yesterday evening we wandered up to our local wood in the hope of seeing our resident badgers and foxes and as you can see, it proved to be a very worthwhile visit.  Both appeared within ten minutes of each other, just as the last glimmers of light were fading.  First we saw one badger emerge at the top of the hill and proceed to inspect the nearby dung pit, quickly followed by another of similar size and appearance.  Oddly, as the second individual approached the first, it reacted as if unaware of each others presence and a brief, noisy scuffle ensued with one chasing the other along the fern-lined path. Continue reading Badger and Fox Encounter

THE DEMISE OF THE HEDGEHOG

Back in the 1950s their population across Britain was thought to be over 36 million.  Most recent estimations put their numbers at barely 1 million and all indications point towards an ongoing, sharp decline.  So what’s causing this and what can be done to reverse the trend?

Well, carrying out a nationwide census would be a good start, as to my knowledge one has never been carried out.  The rewilding of gardens would help, making them less manicured and pesticide-free to entice beetles, caterpillars, slugs and snails back; and more accessible by removing fences and gates.  As there name suggests, hedgerows are a key habitat for them and we’ve removed or depleted a staggering 200,000 miles of hedges since the Second World War, primarily to make way for intensive farming and housing.  Extreme fragmentation of their habitat has had a drastic effect on their survival rates, as it’s brought them into closer contact with their two main predators- badgers and domestic cats.

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