English poachers let little girl watch fox cubs savaged by hounds

This video from Britain says about itself:


23 November 2012

DRAMATIC RESCUE CAPTURED ON FILM – A young vixen owes her life to the quick thinking and courage of a hunt monitor who literally dived in and grabbed her from amongst the hounds that were just about to maul her to death …

The young woman was out monitoring the Old Berks Fox Hounds who met at Elmwood House, Black Bourton in Oxfordshire. Not long after the hunt moved off, the Huntsman sent the hound pack into woodland and thick undergrowth.

The hounds found the fox in scrub next to large slurry tanks on the edge of a farm.

Fortunately for the fox, her “guardian angel” was only feet away. With no thought for her own safety, the monitor shouted at the hounds as they closed in on the fox, and running forward, was able to snatch the terrified animal. She then scooped her up, away from amongst the hounds, which would in moments have undoubtedly torn the young animal to pieces. The fox had already been bowled over onto her back, leaving her stomach exposed.

Despite having been bitten by the terrified fox, the monitor hurried the traumatised animal away, cradled in her arms, whilst her colleague, who filmed the whole incident, called for help.

Being followed by a Hunt participant, they reached a fellow monitor’s car and the fox was then driven away to safety. She was checked for injuries, and thanks to the monitor’s lightning reactions, was found to have no serious bites.

The fox has now been rehabilitated into an area where she will be safe from the hunt.

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From the Daily Mirror in Britain:

Fox hunters slammed for letting little girl watch hounds savage bloodied corpses of dead cubs

22:53, 6 Nov 2015

By Ben Glaze

The girl, aged around six, was with 14 men who flung the lifeless cubs to a pack of 30 hounds in a hunt training exercise

A small girl looks on as a pack of hunt hounds swarm around the bloodied bodies of two fox cubs.

The shocking footage, captured by anti-hunt campaigners, shows the child – aged around six – waving her arms as the bloodthirsty pack mills about the lifeless young animals.

The fox cubs, whose corpses are hidden from view in the footage, had been thrown to the 30-strong pack moments earlier, already dead.

Wearing pink wellington boots, a white-and-pink top and blue jeans, the little girl can be seen dancing around the dogs, then backing away.

As she does so, 14 grown-ups stand by watching the fired-up hounds, tails wagging with delight, being directed by their handlers.

Animal rights activists tonight condemned the group for letting a youngster view the distressing sight.

Tom Quinn, campaigns director of the League Against Cruel Sports, asked: “What kind of people are so unashamedly happy to parade their cruelty in front of a child?”

He added: “The majority in the UK are strongly against hunting. This is its dark reality.

“We’re sure they’ll be shocked and disgusted to see a little girl being brought along to witness this barbarism.”

Animal welfare campaigners passed the video to the Mirror after seeing the youngster appear alongside the adults for the dawn “training” rite.

In the one minute, 45 second film, recorded in the mid-Devon countryside, the girl can be seen glancing up at the group of gilet-clad adults observing the hounds.

The foxes were thrown to the pack already dead in what is thought to be part of a training process.

In the footage, a middle-aged man perches on a red quad bike, while a silver 4×4 stands parked at an open gate.

The video begins with the girl, her hair tied back in a pony tail, crouching to the ground then popping up, scratching her head, looking to the adults and folding her arms across her chest.

She then turns back to look at the dogs before one fox corpse is picked up from the ground.

The second animal’s lifeless body is also retrieved, and a kennel worker carries both across the freshly harvested field to sling them into a box on the rear of the quad bike.

The horrific scenes unfolded near the village of Nymet Rowland, with dogs from the nearby 217-year-old Eggesford Kennels.

The kennels describe the land as “good hunting country”, extending 19 miles east to west and some 20 miles north to south.

An undercover investigator from the League Against Cruel Sports, who shot the footage from a public right of way, said: “It’s likely the cubs were dug out of their den and shot by the hunt’s terrierman.” …

A botched effort to relax anti-hunt laws forced Prime Minister David Cameron into a climbdown in July.

A commenter on the Daily Mirror site writes:

If a six-year-old had been taken to a dogfight on a working-class housing estate then they would be called straight away and the parents would be fully investigated.

I call upon Child Protection to make sure that this is done.

Police appeal after allegation of dog hunting and killing fox near Plymouth: here.

Police launch investigation after fox killed during Atherstone Hunt | Tamworth Herald: here.

Watching fish good for health, new study

This 2012 video is called National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth, Devon, England.

By Kyle Young:

Calm And Soothing: Watching Fish is Beneficial To Health, Research Finds

When you think of healthy activities, you probably picture morning jogs, yoga, maybe choking down a protein shake.

But research offers a surprising addition – staring at fish!

A study conducted in Plymouth, UK at the National Marine Aquarium found that after watching fish “people felt more positive” and “became more relaxed.” The study even noted reductions in blood pressure and heart rate.

This is not an entirely new concept. Past research has led many doctors’ offices and dental practices to include small aquariums in their waiting rooms with the intention of decreasing stress. But according to Deborah Cracknell, the Lead Researcher, “This study has, for the first time, provided robust evidence that ‘doses’ of exposure to underwater settings could actually have a positive impact on people’s wellbeing.” It also demonstrated that adding more fish to an exhibit can enhance the beneficial effects for viewers.

I should add here that having too many fish in a relatively small aquarium is not good for the well-being of the fish, disturbing them, and probably ultimately also humans watching them.

Also, aquarium fish should be species and individuals getting along well together. I remember an aquarium at an elderly people’s home, where fish quarreled, aggressively pursuing each other. If at an elderly people’s home or similar building there is not a person able to take care well of an aquarium and its inhabitants, then an aquarium there might not be such a good idea.

More Information About the Research Study and Its Findings

Scientists from Plymouth University and the University of Exeter Medical School collaborated to conduct this study at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, UK. The University of Exeter reports, “The researchers benefited from a unique opportunity in order to conduct their study when the National Marine Aquarium refurbished one of its main exhibits – in a large 550,000 litre tank – and began a phased introduction of different fish species.”

In their report, the researchers explain how they took advantage of the situation by venturing to measure “behavioral, physiological, and psychological reactions to increases in levels of marine biota.” To do this, they divided the test subjects into three groups. The first group “viewed the exhibit when it contained only seawater and artificial decoration.” The second group viewed the tank when it was partially stocked, and the third viewed the fully stocked tank. The goal was to determine whether participants viewing a fully stocked tank would experience greater results than those viewing a partially stocked tank.

As it turned out, the researchers were on to something. The study found that “increased biota levels were associated with longer spontaneous viewing of the exhibit, greater reductions in heart rate, greater increases in self-reported mood, and higher interest.”

The scientists suggested these findings could potentially help companies design better exhibits to “maximize the restorative potential of aquaria in health care environments and other stressful settings such as the workplace.”

Are butterflies dangerous, see photo?

Red admiral

This photo by Stephen Bassett shows a red admiral butterfly on a sign in Axe Valley Wildlife Park in Devon in England, on 21 August 2015.

English greater horseshoe bats threatened

This video from Britain says about itself:

24 February 2011

A short piece about Greater Horseshoe Bats that appeared on The One Show (23/02/2011).

Land near the roost is now being grazed organically by Ruby Red Cattle, hopefully leading to an increased population of dung beetles an important food source for some species of bat.

From Wildlife Extra:

Devon bats future to be decided at High Court

If the High Court allows the building of 230 houses the future of a population of one of northern Europe’s most threatened bats, the greater horseshoe bat, will be in jeopardy, says the Devon Wildlife Trust.

The Trust is bringing the Judicial Review against a planning decision made by Teignbridge District Council to grant permission for up to 230 houses to be built on land which lies just 170 metres from an internationally important site where female greater horseshoe bats congregate to give birth and raise their young. Devon Wildlife Trust has taken this unusual step in the court because the Rocklands development on the edge of Chudleigh, in South Devon, will pose a serious threat to the future of these rare bats.

Chudleigh’s population of greater horseshoe bats is one of the largest left in the UK but overall the species is in serious decline. The Devon bats use a site close to the Chudleigh town centre as a place to hibernate in winter and as a summer maternity roost in which to raise their young. The caves have protection from disturbance and development, and form part of the South Hams Special Area of Conservation. However, this same protection does not extend to the surrounding green fields and hedgerows which act as vital feeding grounds and flightpaths for the bats. It is the decision of Teignbridge District Council to permit a development of 230 houses in this bat-friendly landscape that Devon Wildlife Trust is taking court action to try to overturn.

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Chief Executive Harry Barton said:

‘These bats are some of the rarest UK mammals and Devon’s rural landscapes offer one of the last places which they have left. The importance of the decision by the High Court on Friday cannot be overstated. We believe that the needs of the species haven’t been properly taken into consideration in the decision to give the go ahead for 230 houses to be built so close by.’

‘We recognise that there is an acute housing shortage in the country. However, this case is about ensuring we have the right scale of development in the right place. Chudleigh has grown by 67 percent since 1950 and is scheduled to expand by a further 435 homes. During the same period the extent of hedgerows, which the bats use to navigate to their favourite foraging grounds, have halved. Cramming development into the remaining green fields around the town threatens the future of this special landscape and the bats and other wildlife which it supports.’

Greater horseshoe bats have suffered a catastrophic decline in the past 100 years. This large bat, with a wingspan of almost 40cm, was once common across southern England, but changes in land-use such as urban development and a move away from cattle grazed pastures and hay meadows has seen its numbers tumble by more than 90% since the early 1900s. This has left greater horseshoe bats clinging on in just a few areas.

Devon remains one place where the bats can still be seen and supports the largest population in the whole of northern Europe. With just 6,500 greater horseshoe bats left in the UK, a third of these survive in the county. Devon’s greater horseshoe bats are now restricted to just 11 key roosts. But now with the Chudleigh roost threatened by a housing development, Devon Wildlife Trust is concerned that the endangered species will be dealt a devastating blow.

Harry Barton, Chief Executive of Devon Wildlife Trust said:

‘We have opposed this housing development from its beginnings in 2013; we opposed it at its initial application stage and at a public hearing, all without success. We are very concerned that this may be the last chance we have to make a difference to the greater horseshoe bats of Chudleigh and this is why we had no option but to take Teignbridge District Council to the High Court.’

‘We are also holding authorities to account which have to adhere to the most important wildlife legislation in the Country, the European Habitat Regulations. This critical legislation is there to support our most endangered habitats and species populations and is currently under threat by moves to reduce its powers. We hope that our case will set a clear precedent that will help give endangered species populations across Europe a brighter future.’

The Judicial Review is being heard on Friday 12 June at the High Court in Bristol.

Beavers in Britain

This July 2014 video from England is called Wild beaver kits born in Devon‘s River Otter.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Frosty’s Ramblings: Back from 500 years of oblivion

Friday 6th February 2015

Beavers’ engineering endeavours are examples of outstanding environmental practice. It’s time we accepted it, says PETER FROST

A complete about-face from the government, Defra and Natural England has saved a small colony of wild beavers on the River Otter in Devon near the village of Ottery St Mary.

It is believed to be the first population of wild beavers in the English countryside for over 500 years.

Local and national environmental campaigners had feared the small colony would end up in a zoo or even culled like the badgers.

The Devon beavers were first caught on film a year ago but rumours and sightings had been happening for some time before that.

Nobody knows where they came from.

Last summer, coalition farming minister George Eustice and Defra said they wanted to get rid of the Devon beavers by capture or cull.

Defra claimed beavers were an invasive non-native species and could carry a rare parasite called Echinococcus multilocularis (EM).

A vigorous public campaign by Friends of the Earth and Devon Wildlife Trust has changed the government’s mind. Even I wrote in support of the Devon beavers back in July of last year.

Now clearly embarrassed by the expensive fiasco of the badger cull Eustice has seen sense and listened to expert opinion.

Defra has now decided that the Devon Wildlife Trust can manage a reintroduction programme for the beaver as part of a carefully regulated five year trial.

Friends of the Earth campaigner Alasdair Cameron told us: “This is great news for Devon’s beavers. If, as seems likely, they can now remain in the wild.”

Natural England, which is part of Defra, has approved a five-year scientific study of the beaver and this could open the way to the wider reintroduction of what was once a common species across England.

Meanwhile beavers have been reintroduced into Scotland and are breeding happily on several Scottish rivers where their dams make a spectacular addition to the river-scape.

The first significant recent Scottish population of wild beavers became established on Scotland’s River Tay as early as 2001.

The hugely intelligent European beaver (Castor fiber) is the largest rodent in Europe. They build amazing architectural structures for their dams and lodges.

This fascinating and historically much hunted animal is coming back to its natural homes all over Europe and it’s time we made much bigger efforts to bring it back to the rivers and countryside of Britain.

I first saw wild European beavers and the good they can do for the wetland environment on a visit to the Biesbosch National Park in the Netherlands where they were reintroduced in 1988 after being completely exterminated in the 19th century.

After the reintroduction in the Biesbosch the overall Dutch population has spread considerably, supported by additional reintroductions.

The beaver was once widespread all over Europe and Britain. The animal was hunted to near-extinction for both its luxurious fur and an extract from its anal glands known as castoreum. This is used in the perfume industry and was once believed to have magical medical properties.

Beavers typically grow to 80–100cm (31–39in) and the tail adds another 25–50cm (10–20in). Adults weigh between 11–30kg (24–66lb), with an average of 18kg (40lb).

They usually have one litter of three kits per year. Unlike most other rodents, beavers are monogamous, staying together for many breeding seasons.

Beavers help support wetland ecosystems by creating sustainable wet landscape with lakes and pools, which increase biodiversity and provide habitat for threatened and rare species such as water voles, otters and water shrews.

They gnaw branches from waterside trees and shrubs so that they re-grow denser, which provides useful cover for birds and animals.

Their dams trap sediment and improve water quality and can help regulate river flows and reduce flooding.

Last July I wrote in these pages: “Now is the time to encourage the reintroduction of beavers to suitable sites in both England and Wales.”

That message is even more true today.

Yesterday the only known wild beavers in England were released back to their Devon home river, after they were cleared by officials of any diseases that could harm humans. The beavers — four adults and one juvenile — were set free alongside the River Otter after having been temporarily captured last month so they could be tested for health issues that included bovine tuberculosis and a parasitic tapeworm harmful to humans called Echinococcus multilocularis: here.

Beavers good for bluethroats: here.

Beavers of Maastricht, the Netherlands

This Dutch video is about beavers in nature reserve De Kleine Weerd near Maastricht city.

The beavers of River Otter in Devon are allowed to stay if they are disease free, Natural England has announced. The beavers were first spotted in February 2014 and it is unknown how they got there: here.