Updates and news

  • The National Trust is making up to 1,200 staff redundant as part of £100m/yr savings plans
  • Nidderdale Cocktail of bendiocarb, chloralose, isofenphos and carbofuran kills dog. Same local cocktail responsible for raptor deaths. Insp Matt Hagen, from North Yorkshire Police, said: “The fact we have seen this same combination of chemicals, the ‘Nidderdale cocktail‘ as it is sometimes known, also cause the death of birds of prey in this same location would indicate that the poisons have been deliberately left in a place where they could be found by wildlife and unfortunately in this case, domestic pets.
  • The Moorland Association Twitter account (see here) still hasn’t resurfaced and its website hasn’t had any news on it since early July. Something’s going on, or maybe something’s kicking off?
  • In the embarrassing case of BTO compliance with Natural England secrecy over completed report, (see my email to BTO, their reply to me and my response to them, and also see here and here) I’ve had an interesting reply from Andy Clements but as he has ticked the box for privacy I can’t tell you about it.
  • Tom Langton’s crowdfunder for his legal challenge on Badgers is £5,000 short of its target with only 6 days to go – I’ll put another tenner into it tomorrow.
  • One in three children across the world have high lead levels in their blood – see here. I’d love to know the blood lead levels in gamekeepers’ children… The most interesting part of the article, in a way, is the reminder that lots of nations have dropped the ‘alarm level for lead but that the UK hasn’t: ‘Until recently, the US judged that levels above 10μg/dl were a cause for concern, but changed this to 5μg/dl in 2012 as more evidence became available.‘[who says 2012 is recent?] and ‘The UK decided in 2018 against conducting nationwide screening of lead levels, making it hard to judge where children and adults are most at risk, and the UK still only regards levels over 10μg/dl in children and pregnant women as being of concern, though that may change later this year.‘.
  • BASC seems somewhat gleeful in the hiccup in progress on lead regulation in the EU (remember the EU?) – see here.
  • I was talking to someone this week who suggested that there might be about half the number of Pheasants released this year as usual because of the impacts of COVID-19 on both imports of chicks and eggs and on confidence and enthusiasm for shooting. A halving – sounds bad doesn’t it? But if you pretend that we are living in 2010 (just because that’s where the GWCT graph here ends (NB at around the time when [peopple were getting very interested in the scale of gamebird releases) that would hardly lead to any decrease in numbers shot – the over-releasing is so huge! Back in 1985 they were releasing half as many Pheasants and shooting almost the same numbers. Wasteful or what?
  • And talking of imports of gamebird chicks and eggs, how many are imported each year? Have a think and then check your answer against the 2019 figures – see here. How close were you?
  • Did you see the Langholm Buyout was featured on Channel 4 last week? – see here. I’ll put another tenner into their crowdfunder too – see here.
  • Trees for Life have received a grant of £150,000 from the Scottish Government Biodiversity Challenge fund for a project with NTS to establish new seed sources for rare mountaintop trees in Glen Affric.
  • Wainwright Prize shortlist for books on Global conservation are: Rebirding by Ben Macdonald (reviewed here), Irreplaceable by Julian Hoffman (reviewed here), Life Changing by Helen Pilcher (promised by the publisher but never arrived so not reviewed here, but I may buy it to read as Helen’s previous book was reviewed here and was a cracker), Sitopia (by Carolyn Steel, not read it), What we need to do Now (by Chris Goodall, not read it) and Working with Nature by Jeremy Purseglove, not read it).
  • Wainwright Prize shortlist for books on UK Nature are: Dancing with Bees by Brigit Strawbridge (reviewed here), Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty (not read it), Dark, Salt, Clear by Lamorna Ash (not read it), On The Red Hill by Mike Parker (not read it), The Frayed Atlantic Edge by David Gange (not read it) and Wanderland by Jini Reddy (not read it).


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6 Replies to “Updates and news”

  1. Just incredible that this Government and its Tory predecessors continue not to ban lead shot. It is not just high levels of lead in some humans but also in our birds and animals. There was the skeleton of a seal shown on Spring Watch this year with a lead pellet stuck in one of is bones.
    This Government demonstrates the height of irresponsibility on refusing to ban lead shot, but then lead shot and shooting our wild life for fun is very much one of their vested interests. It seems therefore they will go to any lengths even irresponsible lengths to preserve their vested interests.

    1. They want to protect their antique purdeys. How will anyone know that they are posh bastards with right to rule if they don't have fancy old guns. They could end up using the same modern shotguns as common folk otherwise.

      1. That reminds me of a cartoon I saw at Countryfile Live: tweedy gent at the pearly gates arguing with St Peter "What do you mean, I can't bring my Purdeys in!"

  2. Since my bookshelves are stuffed with your recommendations I think I have an idea of what you like. Not reading Dara’s book is a serious omission. It’s a fine book and I think you’ll like it.

    I know of at least two pheasant shoots near us that have neither filled heir pens this year or planted the usual feed/cover strips. There are however many refugees still present from previous wars. They are looking wary!

    Strange that NE are keeping secrets since they are funded by us.

    I do fear for Langholm. It’s almost as if they had to be given a chance to buy, but somebody doesn’t really want them too. That the SG won’t support community buy outs of grouse moors may be telling us something perhaps. So want another Carrifran.

    And yes, more dosh to the Badgers please.

  3. Was it only February that BASC were saying this:

    “The shooting community must maintain its place at the forefront of conservation and environmental protection,” nine pro-shooting groups said in a joint statement issued by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).

    “Continued development of non-lead shot and recyclable and bio-degradable plastics means the time is right for a complete transition.” ?

    The organisation doesn't seem to know whether it is coming or going as far as lead shot is concerned.


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