Weekly Roundup 30/11/14

Today is the last official day of autumn, although the weather hasn’t felt all that autumnal until recently. With the shock of black friday over,and start of the steep descent into looped christmas songs and ever more crazed shoppers we catch up with what wildlife stories you need to know about this week.


Record Breaking Seal Pups at Blakeney Point

Since the first recorded breeding of grey seals at Blakeney Point in 2001, the local area has become the mecca of seal breeding grounds, with record breaking numbers of pups being born at the site this year. More than 900 pups have been born at the National Trust reserve in the last three weeks; that’s 180 more than last year.

It is believed that the seals have taken a liking to the area due to the minimal human disturbances and the security the beaches and dunes provide against predators. Experts predicted that 1,800 pups could be born at Blakeney Point by the end of the four month breeding season.


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Number of Rescued Hedgehogs has Increased

The RSPCA has reported a sharp increase in the amount of hedgehogs being rescued this year. With casualties ranging from separated young, to mature hedgehogs suffering from illness, more than double the usual amount of hedgehogs have been rescued this year.

It is unclear whether the increase in rescues is due to a warmer, dryer autumn leading to more hedgehog litters, and thus more hedgehog incidents. Or if a greater public awareness has led to more hedgehogs being brought in to rescue centres. Nevertheless the increased numbers is generally being heralded as a good sign that it has been a good year for hedgehog population numbers.

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Bumblebee Immigration

This week Natural England announced a change in the legislation regarding the release of non-UK bumblebees. From now on non-UK bumblebees can only be released into glass houses and polytunnels if it is an emergency and the native species cannot be sourced.

This is to help protect our native subspecies of the Buff Tailed Bumblebee, as previously various subspecies from across Europe could be brought into the UK and used despite the risks associated with the imports escaping.

A study in 2013  found that 73% of imported bumblebee colonies carried parasites which could be harmful to UK colonies. It is hoped that a smaller amount of bumblebees being brought into the country will lead to less escapes and help stop diseases and pests from being introduced to our native bees.

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Wildlife Crime and the Internet

The largest ever study into the multi-million pound exotic pet trade revealed the true extent it entails across the internet. The International Fund for Animal Welfare analysed the online trade in 16 target countries over a six week period and found over 33,000 animals and items which are protected under international law on sale across various websites.

The UK ranked fourth out of the countries listed for the volume of listed articles. Over two thirds of the products listed online were animal parts and products from big cats, hippos, elephants, rhinos and crocodiles. Amongst the live animals listed for sale there were protected tortoises, monkeys, owls and a hyacinth macaw priced at £15,000. Overall the investigators found 1,087 advertisements in the UK, mostly on Ebay which had a value of more than £300,000.

As poaching and the trade in animal parts put unprecedented pressure on struggling populations of the worlds megafauna, this report has revealed the devastating and highly accessible world of online wildlife trade. The sheer volume of listings over a small period of time paints a bleak portrait into the threats faced by the worlds wildlife from the illegal trade of wildlife.

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Emily Stewart
Owner of Inspirewildlife - a site dedicated to sharing positive conservation news stories from around the world. Zoo Management Graduate from University of Chester
Emily Stewart

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