According to reports, Scottish Natural Heritage are slaughtering thousands of migratory geese as they arrive at their winter home on a Hebridean island.
More than 8,000 of the legally protected Greenland Barnacle Geese have been shot in the past three years with nearly half of that total being killed last winter alone. These figures are really shocking given that they relate to just one single island, Islay. The island is home to 60% of the world's population of this RSPB amber-listed species. Despite being internationally protected, the geese which fly in from the North Atlantic every year as they have for millennia, are alleged to cause harm to grazing land used by sheep and cattle, bringing the migrating visitors into conflict with farmers.
I've spoken before many times about SNH and their particularly bloodthirsty approach to the wildlife they purport to protect but this news is especially appalling given the sheer number of geese killed.
Scientists have been questioning the methods used to control the geese, which are shot, often randomly using pump action shotguns, leaving countless birds wounded and left to die slowly and in great pain. Dead birds are reportedly dumped in landfill sites.
There are no words for such vile acts of cruelty but the embarrassingly misguided judgement of SNH must be challenged. Over and over again we are seeing them making poor decisions skewed in favour of farmers and gamekeepers while neglecting in their duty towards wildlife and nature. Indeed their lack of integrity is offensive and their morals and reasoning questionable to say the least.
Meanwhile now, with the geese arriving once again for their winter stay, the isle of Islay will become a bloodbath as this beautiful and endangered species is gunned down under the authority of SNH, the agency ironically entrusted with conserving our wildlife.
It's so disappointing that Natural England have snubbed the 45,000+ worried citizens who have signed our petition calling for a rethink on the killing of ravens.
Natural England are an official government body and for them to ignore not one but two requests for a statement is beyond belief.
Churlish Silence...Indicates Total Lack Of Respect For Public
When I started the petition a few months ago, I received some rather lame correspondence from Natural England which did nothing to assuage the fears of the signatories, and as the number of outraged petitioners grew I contacted them again to suggest that they might want to take note of the widespread and growing alarm at their raven killing policy and issue a further statement.
But Natural England disappeared into the shadows and now they won't come out to address the concerns of those to whom they are ultimately responsible - the British public. Their silence is deafening.
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. They claim that they are "helping to protect England’s nature and landscapes for people to enjoy". And yet they are responsible for issuing licences to farmers allowing them to cull protected birds such as the raven.
Their churlish silence suggests that they cannot defend their policy.
Certainly it indicates a total lack of respect for the views of a great many people.
Culling Defended As 'Management'?
North of the border, Scottish Natural Heritage face similar criticisms over their slapdash issuing of licences to cull protected species of birds and other wildlife. My blog post on this has been causing great alarm with huge numbers of people voicing their concerns. And such public consternation is not without foundation - the very government bodies entrusted with protecting our natural environment and wildlife appear to be doing their best to randomly destroy much of it, justifying their apparently aimless approach by calling it 'management'.
However did nature survive before humankind started 'managing' it?
Come On Natural England - Engage With Us
I urge all readers to continue to share our petition. This ones for the ravens - but equally it sends a message to government that we won't allow the destruction of any of our cherished species in our name.
We demand and deserve a response. Government is answerable to us - so when the answers don't come and we are met with silence, we have to wonder why....?
Come on Natural England, surely you cannot ignore 45,000 voices? That's a hell of a lot of people who would like the courtesy of a response. If you are confident in your policy then tell us. I've heard from so many people who have great doubts over the competence of Natural England, SNH and other bodies. Many have their own stories to tell and there is a feeling among some that there needs to be an overhaul of these departments whose decisions directly impact on the future of our countryside.
Meanwhile we can only hope that Natural England will deign to respond to our petition. As the number of people signing grows, can they really continue to ignore us?
Please carry on sharing the petition HERE
And thanks again for your support,
Endangered Mammals Are Victims Of Wind Farms Too, Say Reports, As Turbines Decimate Indian Countryside
Endangered animals displaced - citizens 'illegally restrained' - this is wind farm development in India...and a warning to us all.
Researchers in India have discovered that wind farms are having a detrimental effect not only on birds but also on mammals.
Studies carried out by the highly respected Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, and reported in Indian newspaper The Telegraph, concluded that noise from the turbines and blades of wind turbines drives away mammals — mostly herbivores, whose exit in turn causes displacement of larger animals and carnivores. They point out that this brings them into closer proximity with humans increasing the incidence of man-animal conflict.
Ineffective, Futile - And Hugely Destructive
The construction of wind farms in India has been responsible for disastrous damage to the environment. In 2012, The Hindu newspaper reported that the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) had condemned the local government for its approval of Enercon's Andhra Lake Wind Power Project which they say caused "substantial forest destruction and triggered large scale soil erosion".
The Telegraph, commenting this week on the worrying growth of the wind industry, pointed out that "300,000 trees were hacked down to construct a road [to service the wind farm] along the Bhimashankar sanctuary in Maharashtra, a known habitat of leopards, pangolins and the Indian giant squirrel."
Significantly their editorial also noted that it takes approximately 100 tonnes of steel, 400 tonnes of concrete, 6.8 tonnes of fibreglass, not to mention copper and cast iron to generate one single megawatt of wind-generated electricity.
These startling figures illustrate just how ineffective and futile wind power really is. It's a deception on a grand scale.
Citizens Denied Access To Countryside
Moreover, the Andhra Lake wind farm's managers have been accused of illegally denying citizens access to the countryside where the turbines were located, "not only are their rights under the Forest Rights Act not being recognised, they are being illegally restrained in their movements on hills they have inhabited for centuries.” the WGEEP has said.
Extinction By 'Green' Wind Projects
At least one species will be extinct very soon directly due to the wind industry. Some of the planet's rarest creatures including the pangolin and leopard may be next.
We should learn lessons from the environmental catastrophe that is happening in India as a direct consequence of irresponsible and sinister wind farm development.
Here in the UK, big energy companies continue to push for more and more industrialisation of our countryside and coast with little concern for the consequences.
Habitat and wildlife will be lost forever.
Warnings From India
The catastrophic environmental destruction and the alleged violation of people's rights in India is a warning call to us all. If we continue to industrialise the natural environment, wherever we are in the world, then the damage to wildlife and natural resources will be overwhelming and irreversible. As wind farms begin to proliferate across our lands, will we too be forbidden from accessing our open spaces?
The wind industry must not be allowed to prosper at the expense of all that is precious in our countryside.
For India much damage has already been done. For the rest of us there is still a chance to save our open spaces from the invasion of this nasty industry that is still, in spite of all the warning signs, spreading like a virus across the planet.
"....there is at least a possible link between the proliferation of offshore turbines and the increase in whale deaths. It's logical, no?"
Perhaps a bigger mystery even than the unexplained deaths of up to 100 whales washed up on Scottish and Irish beaches during the past few months, is the fact that much of the media has been strangely quiet over the matter.
It's thought that very many more of the mammals might have perished at sea, meaning that several hundred whales might have died. While there is, with some justification, an overload of publicity about plastics in our seas causing harm to wildlife, there have been few reports highlighting the shocking numbers of whale deaths that appear to be due not to plastic but more likely to sound pollution at sea which affects the delicate sonar that the whales use to navigate and communicate.
Military Sonar And Oil Exploration Blamed....
Fingers have been pointed at military manoeuvres in the waters of the North Atlantic as well as deep sea oil and gas exploration.
But what many of those pointing the fingers seem to ignore entirely is that there are now vast banks of huge wind turbines around the Scottish coast, throughout the North Sea and in the Irish Sea which emit low level noise capable of disorientating the sensitive marine mammals.
While it is important to consider all explanations for the whale deaths, it seems suspicious to me that the notion of wind farms contributing to the huge number of beached whales is no longer even mooted as a possibility. Yet, to many, the correlation between wind farms and whale deaths is substantial. Unusual whale mortality has also been reported from the East coast of the USA and Denmark, both areas in which there happen to be offshore turbines.
As recently as last year the idea was put forward that wind farms might play a part in the demise of the mammals when some dead Minke whales were washed up in Norfolk, UK, close to an offshore wind farm.
Suggestions That Wind Farms To Blame Dismissed Out Of Hand....
But suggestions that noise from the turbines was to blame were hastily dismissed as paranoia and ridiculed by wind industry sympathisers. What was an apparently plausible link is now ignored - and those implicating turbines with the whale deaths are mocked and treated with contempt.
Perhaps there is too much money at stake, invested in the wind industry, to risk considering the possibility that the vast industrial scale turbines are a contributory factor to the whale deaths.
Environmentalists Critical Of Wind Energy....
While genuine environmentalists remain highly critical of the wind industry and its motives, perhaps the faux greens are too blinkered to see the harm they might be doing, heaven forbid that anyone should threaten their fantasy of a planet powered by wind and inhabited by Unicorns.
But to me there is at least a possible link between the proliferation of offshore turbines and the increase in whale deaths. It's logical, no?
Or are we just going to bury our heads in the sands of ignorance and allow the demise of our precious whales (and birds and bats...) while we listen, in blissful stupidity, to the whirring of turbine blades...?
Rabbits To Be Culled For 'Eating Wreaths' At Scottish Cemetery - Pigeons Should Be Next Says Councillor
"Rabbits running riot" in Border town.... local council says it will kill "as many as possible"....
A cull of wild rabbits is about to begin in the Scottish town of Jedburgh as locals have complained about them eating graveside flowers at the town's Castlewood cemetery.
The rabbits are being blamed for damaging wreaths and 'running riot' - in spite of the fact that the cemetery might have more important issues to deal with than flower munching bunnies - parts of the cemetery appear to be in a sorry state with several gravestones toppled and neglected. One wonders whether the council are trying to distract attention from the poor condition of the cemetery by highlighting the 'rampaging' rabbits.
Typically it seems that wildlife is being made a scapegoat for an ineffective council. There is a growing intolerance of nature in towns and cities, especially it would appear in Scotland at the moment (see my other blog posts about Scottish Natural Heritage).
Killing rabbits is not going to solve the problem of poor management - it just highlights the ignorant perception of some short-sighted councils and a foolish disregard for nature. Urban green spaces such as cemeteries are an important habitat for native wildlife and should not become killing fields.
Kill "as many rabbits as possible"....
Local Jedburgh councillor Sandy Scott announced at a recent meeting that the council will "arrange for Surekill to come in and euthanise the bunnies.”
A statement from council officers suggests that the pest control company would kill "as many rabbits as possible".
That's some boast isn't it....
Meanwhile another Jedburgh community councillor Graham Hayward has called for a cull of pigeons in this wildlife intolerant town.
Perhaps Jedburgh is set to become the UK's first nature-free zone. It seems that might be what they aspire to.
Meanwhile Jedburgh's rabbits will soon be gone and the town's cemetery will be devoid of life, something apparently the locals would deem appropriate.
What will be next? Those pesky birds in the trees? The trees themselves?
What a sad reflection on a very sad town.
Jedburgh. Where once was life.....
It's astonishing and very humbling to see that my petition to stop the killing of English Ravens is fast approaching the 50,000 signature landmark.
When it emerged that Natural England had been issuing licences to farmers granting them permission to kill this iconic - and protected - species, there was a surge of opposition from the general public.
A banal statement I received from Natural England back in August left me feeling less than impressed with their concern for the growing public outrage at their actions.
So I have again contacted them (together with Defra) and asked them for a statement - a copy of my correspondence is reproduced below.
The signatories of this petition deserve a considered and intelligent response to their genuine consternation at the government-sanctioned threat to this much loved bird.
I'll keep you all posted - meanwhile please continue to share the petition far and wide.
"Further to my correspondence of July and August, I am once again writing to you with regard to a petition calling for an end to the issuing of licences to kill Ravens in England.
The petition has now received more than 41,000 signatures and is continuing to gain huge support via social media and coverage in the press.
As we approach the 50,000 signature landmark, I am contacting you for a statement that I can pass on to the supporters of the cause. I feel that with such strong public feeling over this, it would be in your interest to acknowledge the concerns of so many citizens and to recognise that people do not accept any cull of a protected species, especially given that there appears to be little or no evidence to support the claims that Ravens kill farm animals - the primary reason given for issuing licences to kill the birds.
We await your prompt and considered reply"
CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION
The news that a coastal golf club in Leasowe, UK has ordered the culling of Canada Geese has caused outrage amongst locals.
The Geese, which are frequent visitors to the area, are much loved by many people who are furious that the birds are being killed merely because of their presence on the course.
A petition started by Leanne Hughes is gathering pace as stunned bird lovers rally to save the majestic geese from the guns of those employed to murder them.
As Leanne says "The people of Wirral value highly the beauty and nature of the area, and are disheartened to learn about the killing of these innocent creatures as they are about to migrate for the winter.....our children should also not have to witness this, they should be brought up with compassion for all living beings and not made to believe it is ok to take an innocent animals life for fun or sport."
Leasowe Golf Club is not alone in its callous attitude towards wildlife. Many other golf courses have resorted to massacring birds and other animals that happen to share their land, even when the wildlife existed on the site before the clubs themselves. Earlier this year another English club in Chingford, Essex admitted to shooting Geese, adding that their presence was ‘horrendous’ and claiming that many members were tired of "fouled fairways and geese blocking shots."
The Government allows the killing of certain species, including Canada Geese, without having to apply for a licence - but only in order to preserve public health or public safety.
In my opinion the presence of Canada Geese on the manicured greens of a golf course does not pose a threat to public health and safety.
It is yet another sign of human intolerance towards wildlife and must be challenged.
You can sign the petition to stop Leasowe Golf Club culling geese HERE.
Up to 70 protected Herring Gulls have been found dead in a Dorset field.
The cause of the deaths is not known but some possible explanations have included poisoning due to slug pellets, lightning strike or even bird flu, though the birds' bodies were too decomposed to enable tissue sampling.
The dead gulls were discovered last week in a field of oil seed rape.
Suggestion to 'cover up' the news...
By far the most worrying part of this news for me is that on the farming forum where I found the story, there were suggestions to 'cover up' the news before it reached a wider public, "clear the gulls up and ask admin to delete thread..." suggested one poster while another said "you can bet certain parties will be quick to blame farming without a shred of evidence."
Why try to suppress what is clearly a very worrying event? Surely that course of action would only raise suspicions.
Another poster, obviously not a fan of gulls, added "Why report it or some bugger will want to protect the flying sea rats?" Well perhaps I am that 'bugger' and the 'flying sea rats', to which he or she refers, are already legally protected due to their rapidly declining population.
So the news is out and I'm happy to bring it to wider public attention, if only to highlight the fact that some farmers would rather I didn't.
Whatever killed the gulls, it's important to note the somewhat sinister comments of a few of those who would try to keep it a secret. I sincerely hope that the relevant authorities are now looking into the matter. We shall await their findings.
Meanwhile if you hear of similar news that might not normally make it into the public domain, do please let me know.....
Tweet Me! Tweet to @JasonEndfield
SEARCH ALL MY BLOG POSTS HERE