Weekly Roundup 04/01/15
Welcome to the first weekly roundup of 2015. Sadly it’s the last day of the Christmas break for many as schools and offices return to work tomorrow morning however that doesn’t mean you don’t have time to catch up on any wildlife news you might have missed due to watching a classic James Bond film repeated. Or Frozen if your child has control of the remote.
Grey Squirrel Cull
Last year we reported on the governments plans to scrap existing laws which required people to report the presence of grey squirrels on their land so they could be destroyed. These laws were being removed as grey squirrels have been so successful at populating Britain it is no longer considered feasible to remove them. However a plan is now being put in place to once again fight back.
Under a new scheme landowners willing to deal with the species on their land will be eligible for forestry grants to aid them, either from the government or the European Union.They will be able to apply for funding of £100 per hectare per year for five years and there will also be government funding available to help neighbouring landowners cooperate to control grey squirrel numbers.
Grey Squirrels were introduced 140 years ago and are well known for their detrimental affects upon the native red squirrel. However they also cause £10 million in damage to British woodlands every year, therefore better controls need to be put in place to help not only our natural biodiversity but also our economic interests.
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China Tries to Exterminate Pikachu
The Chinese Government is under fire this week for trying to exterminate the animal which inspired possibly the most recognisable video game character of the last 15 years. The mouse-like Pika which lives in Northwest China has been classified as a pest species by Chinese officials who deem it to be damaging the grasslands.
The Pika has been under threat from the Chinese local authorities since the 1950’s when poisoning programmes first commenced. Since then 360,000 sqkm have been covered in zinc phosphate, with a grant to treat another 110,000sq km already sanctioned. However conservation scientists are up in arms about Chinas plans as they believe the Pika is a keystone species which not only reduce risks of flooding where they are found, but also their burrows provide homes for birds and lizards, and hence they also provide food for carnivores.
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Illegal Fox Traps in Guildford
Residents and dog walkers are being warned of dangerous and illegal gin traps being used in Guildford. The traps designed to catch foxes and rabbits using a leg hold snare have been illegal since the 1950’s due to the horrific deaths they caused, however recently two foxes have been found trapped in them. One fox sadly had to be euthanised.
Anyone who discovers a trapped fox or a trap should contact Wildlife Aid Foundation (WAF) on 09061 800 132.. They should not approach the fox.
For More Information (Warning Graphic Images):
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