Tag Archives: mammals

Slug killer will be banned across the country because of risks to hedgehogs and birds, ministers announce

The Daily Telegraph reports metaldehyde is being banned after campaigners said it poses a threat to hedgehogs and toads. The poison is very effective in killing gastropods but not only reduces prey for animals which eat slugs and snails, such as hedgehogs and toads, but can build up to toxic levels in those animals, as well as pets and birds if eaten. Wildlife campaigners have pushed for a ban for years but after a legal challenge from the slug pellet company plans for legislation were put on hold. These have now been revived. 

‘Ghost hedgehogs’ on Dorset roads highlight animals’ plight

The Guardian reports “ghost hedgehogs” are starting to appear on roadsides in Dorset to highlight the plight of hedgehogs killed by fast-moving vehicles. The hedgehogs, made of white-painted wood, are being put up by the Dorset Mammal Group after one small village, Pimperne, reported more than 20 squashed hedgehogs on its roads in just one year. It is hoped that the spectral hedgehogs, like the ghost bike memorials where cyclists have lost their lives, will encourage motorists to slow down and drive with more care. 

Hedgehog not squashed photo by Gillian Thomas under creative commons.

Predatory pine martens boosting red squirrel numbers

The BBC reports a rodent-eating predator seems an unlikely hero for the red squirrel. But conservationists in Wales are being encouraged by news the native pine marten may be helping their cause. Research from Queen’s University in Belfast suggests that numbers of red squirrels are on the increase in areas where pine martens also live. The reason given is that pine martens prey on grey squirrels far more than they do on red squirrels.

Red squirrel photo by Mrs Airwolfhound under creative commons.  

Badger cull extended in England with more than 60,000 in line of fire

The Guardian reports the government’s badger cull is being expanded to 11 new areas of England including parts of Oxfordshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire so that more than 60,000 badgers can be killed. Conservation groups said the expansion was a betrayal of trust after the government this year pledged to phase out the badger cull, intended to reduce bovine TB in cattle, after a scientific review cast doubt on its efficacy.

Badger photo by Sally Langstaff under creative commons.

Proposal to reintroduce lynx to Scotland meets resistance from farmers

iNEWS reports a group hoping to reintroduce the lynx to Scotland has singled out a forest near Loch Lomond as the perfect spot for the animals. While the Lynx UK Trust is launching a public consultation on plans to release them in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park near Aberfoyle, farmers leaders have deemed the proposal “wholly unacceptable”. 

Photo by Charlie Jackson under creative commons.

Beavers should be designated native species, charity says, ahead of killing season

The Daily Telegraph, and The Times report beavers should be given legal status as a native species, the Government has been urged ahead of the start of the Scottish killing season. The Beaver Trust, a charity, has, in partnership with a range of other groups, drawn up a series of proposals on the future of the “sometimes troublesome” dam-building creatures which were almost hunted to extinction. 

Photo by Pat Gaines under Creative Commons.

Beaver families win legal ‘right to remain’

BBC report fifteen families of beavers have been given the permanent “right to remain” on the River Otter in East Devon. The decision was made by the government following a five-year study by the Devon Wildlife Trust into beavers’ impact on the local environment. The Trust called it “the most ground-breaking government decision for England’s wildlife for a generation”. It’s the first time an extinct native mammal has been given government backing to be reintroduced in England. 

Photo by Pat Gaines under Creative Commons.

Hedgehogs in Surrey and across UK at risk of extinction

Surrey Comet reports hedgehogs in Surrey and across the UK are now at imminent risk of extinction according to a new study that highlighted what scientists have called the Sixth Mass Extinction. The survey was carried out by the Mammal Society and concluded that a staggering number of the UK’s native mammal species — one in four — are now endangered and it “imminent” risk of extinction. 

Bovine TB field trials to start next year, raising hopes of an end to badger culls

INEWS reports badger culling could be “phased out” across England and Wales if trials for a new cattle vaccination process against TB, which start next year, prove successful. More than 30,000 cattle are slaughtered each year to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis, at a cost of £100m to the taxpayer. 

Badger photo by Sally Langstaff under creative commons.