Thursday, 10 April 2014

How not to enhance a reputation

Hello and welcome once more to my latest blog it has been a very busy period recently with coursework deadlines all being grouped into one tight bundle, stress levels have significantly risen. Despite this I' have managed to participate in a range of voluntary work over the last month which has proven to be a nice distraction more on this later on. The main focus of this edition however is my frustration in regards to the fact films continually portray certain animals in a negative light. I hope you enjoy the blog and as always feel free to give feedback. 

The Grey - a travesty for the Grey Wolf

Recently the film The Grey has been screened on British terrestrial television to start with I was intrigued as a result of regular advertising and a cast which consisted of big name actors including Liam Neeson. My curiosity quickly turned to frustration and then dismay however, as it became apparent from a very early stage that the plot of this film consisted of the survivors of plane crash being relentlessly hunted down by a pack of seemingly malignant wolves. It’s common knowledge that wolves have historically suffered as a result of miss trust and animosity as a result of human - animal conflict. So to watch part of a film where wolves are portrayed as something evil, taking revenge on anything which dares to cross their path is something really quite exasperating when so much miss trust still surrounds a species a victim largely of myth and misconception. I was relieved to find the film has suffered criticism as a result of this from environmentalists as a result of the portrayal of wolves, drives were put in place to boycott the film altogether. Perhaps the most disturbing fact in relation to the release date occurred only a short while after the species had in many American states have been taken off the Endangered Species Act.
Unfortunately however this is far from the first film to show a species already at risk from negative public perception in a damming light. Perhaps most notorious of all is Jaws and subsequent following films in the series. So damaging the impact on sharks as a result of these films that the author of the novel Peter Benchley would later be quoted as saying “knowing what I know now, I could never write that book today”. For more on this see The use of animals in films and wildlife news 07/12/2013. I get the distinct impression, that for as long as films of this genre continue to be a success, films like these will continue to be made which can only be seen as a travesty and a major set back for dedicated people who are passionately trying to change the reputation of much maligned species.

Voluntary work – Willow, writing and looking for cetaceans.

As a mentioned earlier, it has been a very busy month or so not just academically but also on the voluntary side of things as well. I recently attended a workshop on cliff top surveying for cetaceans run by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Seaquest Southwest which was a hugely enjoyable morning learning about the surveying methodology, as well as detailed information about the local areas marine "hot spots" and the wildlife we stand a chance of observing. So far I've managed to participate in a couple of these surveys and although no cetaceans  been observed personally, its been a pleasure to watch majestic gannets moving so gracefully low over the sea, fulmars jostling for position on rock faces with comedic effect and perhaps the fattest grey seal in Cornwall doing what some would call swimming I would be more inclined to call it floating lazily in the nearby harbor.
Meanwhile I've enjoying my role as Reserve Guardian for the RSPB at the local marsh, it’s a great feeling to be able to contribute towards ensuring the wildlife on the reserve is as well protected as possible whether that be through collecting litter or keeping an eye out for people behaving in a way unacceptable on a nature reserve. I also recently took part in a day of cutting back willow on the reserve being waist deep in marsh unsure of whether or not your next step may leave you completely submerged beneath its cold waters courtesy of a treacherous submerged stump may not be everyone’s idea of fun,  but getting stuck into some real hard graft while on a regular basis battling to keep your equilibrium personally was a fun, rewarding and worthwhile challenge. I've been told the adders have been sighted regularly recently, so I will be making an effort to try and see them for myself in the near future.
I have also recently joined the Cornwall Reptile and Amphibian Group (CRAG). I am very much looking forward to getting involved with a variety of exciting projects the group are going to be accomplishing. After discussion with the group, I volunteered to take on the project of writing a blog series on the groups behalf. You can read the first one and find details on who to contact should you wish to become a member by following the link below.

British birds- The Grey Heron

A visit to the marsh would not be complete without a sighting of one of these enormous birds surely one of Britain’s most iconic species. With a wingspan of just over one and a half meters, this enormous bird is an un believable  spectacle when it takes to the skies yet on land its hunting style means unless a careful eye is scanned across the reedbeds, this colossal bird can easily go unnoticed, waiting for an unwary victim to come within range.

Please take the time to read this

My good friend Mathew Button has recently had his book The Escape Committee published. I've attached links to his Facebook account and Amazon where you can purchase the book

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That’s all for this time once again thank you very much for reading, all the best,

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