Thursday, 23 January 2014

Sharks in crisis -Polititcians don't care.

Hello and welcome to my latest wildlife blog.  As regular readers will know this is usually a  monthly publication,  however recent news coming to light has compelled me to publish an earlier edition focusing on two huge issues. Firstly the legalisation of the shark cull in Western Australia has left myself and countless others gobsmacked and lost for words. Secondly the horrific images which have been surfing the internet recently of the dolphin slaughter in Denmark are obviously appalling to see but need to be shared to show  this disgusting behaviour which has now it seems  become a  Danish tradition.  I hope these news stories stir up emotions of anger and sadness in  you as it did myself I have no doubt that they will.

Legalisation of the shark cull in Western Australia.

Before I express my views on this it is important for me to state that it is not my intention to underplay the devastating consequences of a shark attack. Although rare these are tragic events and the suffering by the victim and people close to them are hard for any of us to even comprehend.

      A Summary of the clearing of the shark cull.
  • Environmental minister Greg Hunt has cleared the cull, exempting them from federal legislation the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act which is designed to protect threatened species.
  • National interest was the reason given for the cull to be cleared after an appeal from the Western Australian government.
  • The cull will be taken place through the use of 72 baited hooks 1 kilometre from the shoreline of eight beaches situated in the Perth and south-west area.
  • Boats will patrol these areas any sharks measuring over three meters long will be shot.
  • Hunt wrote a letter to Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett, and stated that Australians understood the risk of open sea activities and government cannot take away the risk at a general level, however he went onto state that seven shark attacks had taken place in the last three years which was  " well above the historic norm". He then stated that the exemption of the conservation act was appropriate.
  • The exemption states that WA’s $8.5bn tourism industry could be hit by continual shark attacks and that the cull should be allowed subject to conditions aimed at reducing harm to seabirds and whales.
  • It has been stated in the exemption the tourism industry in the WA area as a result of continued shark attacks could be damaged as a result the cull would also reduce damage to seabirds and whales.
  • The exemption would last until the 30th of April.
Full story can be found here http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/21/shark-cull-greg-hunt-exempts-wa

          My view

     In my opinion people who enter the sea where potentially dangerous animals are present do so at their own risk. I say the same about people who work in the African bush and other truly wild situations. On my two conservation trips to South Africa I willingly took the risk of potential harm and my family know if anything had happened to me retribution on the animal would be the last thing I would want. So I feel huge amounts of anger and sorrow when I read sharks are to be culled to protect people entering their domain. How are they to know what they can and cannot prey upon, in fact many sharks attacks are believed to be the case of mistaken identity. The point I am passionate about is that we are purely intruders into the marine world every time we venture into the sea, alien to its inhabitants we manipulate their lives as we see fit. Animals suffer because we want to control everything, we want the natural world to cower to our "power" when really desperate acts such as this cull only represent our ignorance. Sharks have been around for millions of years, they survived what the dinosaurs could not. Their power and grace have the ability to leave people awestruck and yet as a species we continue to deplete their resources, destroy their world and kill mindlessly  whenever we see fit. Sharks may well have outlived the dinosaurs. Whether they will outlive humans is a very different matter.

You are more likely to suffer theses fates than fall victim to shark attack.

Your chances of being a shark attack victim are 1 in 3,700,000 ( National Geographic).

For every human fatality, two million sharks are killed . (National Geographic).

In the USA and Canada roughly 40 people are killed by pigs each year. This equates to six times more than worldwide shark attack fatalities.

Globally more people are victims of falling coconuts than sharks.

In the United States of America the likelihood of being struck by lightening is twenty times higher than being attacked by a shark.

(Shark Foundation)

Calderon dolphin slaughter.

The second issue I am highlighting is something so barbaric it is beyond description. I have to warn you the images are distressing and highlight one of the most appalling "traditions" I and countless others have ever seen evidence of.  Hard as it may be, this sequence of pictures must be shared to shame the people of power into action, so you please help spread the word.

http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s?__biz=MjM5NDM0NTA2Mg%3D%3D&mid=10100142&idx=7&sn=2338d5d305296bc264ba02c8620c3c69&scene=4#rd

I hope you enjoyed the blog, sorry it was one of the more bleak ones published but I felt these issues needed to be highlighted.
Thank you for reading,
George.


Friday, 10 January 2014

A new year, new experiences and new features.

Hello everyone and welcome to my first wildlife blog of 2014. I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and have not been affected by the extreme weather conditions that we have all been experiencing in varying degrees of severity. The first new feature in this blog British Birds came about as a result of a sighting of a Green Woodpecker while out enjoying a walk in the countryside which was particularly special as it was only my second encounter with the species. This has inspired a regular section celebrating our incredible diversity of bird life in the British Isles. The second new addition to the blog has come about as a result of the rather brilliant Natural History Museum Alive program by Sir David Attenborough if you have not had the opportunity to watch it yet I highly recommend you do. Watching it I was reminded of how these incredible now extinct animals had gripped me as a young child in sheer awe of the size of their skeletons while on regular trips to museums. Due to this this blog will run a feature on these incredible animals long gone but forever admired. As always I hope you enjoy the blog.

A rare diamond 

Recently our household acted as a temporary rescue centre to an escaped  Diamond Dove native to Australia this bird had escaped from its aviary  and very nearly paid the ultimate price as it suffered a glancing blow from the Sparrowhawk which frequently considers our garden its hunting ground. Fortunately however apart from shock the little bird suffered no obvious physical injury and after spending the afternoon recovering in the living room, through the power of the internet was later reunited with a very relieved owned the same night.
Photo: The latest rescue edition to the household a Diamond Dove, it just survived a Sparrowhawk attack and is now being helped its recovery
A very lucky bird !

British Birds : Green Woodpecker

Five facts on the Green Woodpecker 

1) Green Woodpeckers predominantly on the ground where short grass offers ideal feeding opportunities. While they can be found in Wales, Scotland and England they can't be found in Ireland.

2) The diet of this species of woodpecker is almost exclusively made up of ants, using its powerful beak to destroy ant colonies but will take a variety of other invertebrates.

3) Eggs are usually 31 by 23 mm in size and  clutches will typically be made up of 4-6 eggs. The incubation period lasts 19-20 days with fledgling taking place between 21 and 24 days.

4) The Green woodpecker is the largest of the three woodpecker species in Britain Lesser and Greater Spotted Woodpeckers being the other two.

5) The Green Woodpecker's conservation status is listed as amber with 52, 000 breeding pairs in the UK.
Facts courtesy of the RSPB and British Trust for Ornithology.

.http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/wildlife/homesforwildlife/f/905/p/28527/205689.aspxgvvv


Extinct Section part 1: Tyrannosaurus Rex

In my view this section could only start one way, featuring a dinosaur which has captured the imagination and starred in films for many decades most famously of all the Jurassic Park trilogy of course it is one of most infamous meat eaters to ever walk the planet - Tyrannosaurus Rex, Tyrant Lizard . Debate is strong about how much of this enormous dinosaurs diet was through predation  and how much was made up through scavenging behaviour, however what has been agreed on both sides of the debate is that T-Rex was incredibly opportunistic taking both live prey and scavenging.
T- Rex lived in North America during  the late Cretaceous period, standing at roughly 15-20 feet tall, 40 feet in length, weighing up to 6.8 metric tonnes and an enormous five foot long skull it would surely of made a terrifying sight. Conical teeth were  using for gripping and tearing food  and it has been estimated that 500 pounds of meat could be eaten in a single bite and fossil evidence of Triceratops and Edmontosaurus suggests bones were crushed while feeding and bone has also been found in its dung. Investigation into the olfactory lobes suggest that an incredible sense of smell was also part of the Rex's armoury, this would of helped detection towards both live and dead food this fact has been used by sides claiming Tyrannosaurus was primarily a scavenger although a final answer to this debate is likely to be a long time coming.  It is strongly suspected that females were larger than males by a scale of several thousand pounds theories as to why this may be include the fact females had to lay clutches of eggs or simply that females were more successful predators.
Whichever way this fearsome animal came across its food, what is for certain is that it is one of the most infamous creatures to ever walk the planet. Capturing the imagination of generations of people, there is no reason to think this most fearsome will not continue to inspire books, films and debate for many years to come.
 
 

 https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=t+rex&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=HF3QUsKkLYWg0wX-iYCADw&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1093&bih=521#q=t+rex+skeleton&tbm=isch&facrc=_&imgdii=SIdU5RsIu9q9sM%3A%3B6RxTj6fRp8i7iM%3BSIdU5RsIu9q9sM%3A&imgrc=SIdU5RsIu9q9sM%253A%3Bl4rSMfwg8xlLgM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fdadhoc.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2010%252F04%252Ftyrannosaurus-rex-skeleton-model_635.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fdadhoc.com%252F2010%252F04%252Fawesome-tyrannosaurus-rex-skeleton-model%252F%3B677%3B411

 
Facts were sourced from 

http://animals.nationalgeographic.co.uk/animals/prehistoric/tyrannosaurus-rex/
http://dinosaurs.about.com/od/dinosaurbasics/a/trexfacts.htm
Bbc nature

News in brief: Large carnivores  in dire trouble

Lions beautiful, majestic, powerful, awesome predators and possibly soon to become extinct as new reports suggest the west African Lion could soon become extinct. From 21 protected areas surveyed in 2005 recent studies  have found that they are only found in four of these areas. In these areas the population is less than 400 with fewer than 250 mature adults.
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/extinction-countdown/2014/01/08/lions-extinct-west-africa/

Of the 31 largest carnivore species on the planet, three quarters of them are in decline with 17 species have had former ranges more than halved. Southeast Asia, southern and East Africa, and the Amazon are some of the areas hardest hit with numerous carnivores declining.
http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2231590/restore_large_carnivores_to_save_struggling_ecosystems.html

Trails and Tails Travel


Looking for a truly wild and wonderful adventure? want to see some natures most amazing natural creations ? Trails and Tails Travel offers a wide range of once in a lifetime opportunity to visit some of the most amazing locations on the planet run by Nicole and Matthew, you can look at their website by following this link http://www.trailsandtailstravel.com/ you can also connect with them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/george.wykes?ref=tn_tnmn#!/TrailsAndTailsTravel?fref=ts.

Twitter

You can follow me on Twitter @ReallyWildWykes where I will be posting regular sources of wildlife news, images and of course my blog updates direct to my Twitter account.

That is all for me this time I hope you enjoyed the new features and thanks for reading,
George.