Last Wednesday I went to visit my Uncle who lives in Eridge, near Tunbridge Wells for four days with my Brother, another Uncle and my Nan. Where he lives it is surrounded by nothing but the lovely countryside. He has a massive garden which includes a orchard and a large pond. I’ve heard many stories from family members about how brilliant the wildlife is in his garden and that you can see anything from grass snakes and slow worms to foxes and badgers.
When I got there, before unpacking, I went for a look around the garden. To my surprise the first thing I saw was a common lizard which was incredible! After having some lunch I went exploring round the garden again, but this time with my camera. The weather was extremely hot and I decided to have a sit down when a grasshopper jumped onto my wellie, the wildlife was everywhere! I managed to get a photo and I took some photos of the garden too. One of the reasons why we were having a long stay at my Uncles was so my brother and my other Uncle could start clearing out the pond as over the last many years it has become extremely overgrown. Before the pond became overgrown it was a common sight to see grass snakes, newts, moorhens and much more. Here are some of the photos I took on the first day.
The very overgrown pond.
After the first day this what what the pond looked like. One of the first stages of clearing the pond.
The next morning I was up nice and early to check my trail camera (a blog post about the footage I managed to get is coming next!) and to spend another day exploring the vast habitats in the garden. Most of the day I helped with clearing the pond but I did go around with my camera. I even managed to see a slow worm but unfortunately I didn’t photograph it! Here are a few photos from day two.
Here’s an old reed warbler nest we found when clearing the pond.
Once again I was up nice and early to check my trail camera and get started with another lovely day in the garden. Today I went on the hunt for a slow worm again so I could photograph one and luckily I did find the same one again and it was in the same spot. Here are some photos that I took from day three which include my photo of a slow worm!
My brother on a swing we made going over the pond.
This is my brother, Sam, helping me photograph some dragonflies. I sat in the boat and as one landed he would slowly push me out to photograph it.
Today was the last day of our four day break and once again I was up early to check my trail camera. After having my breakfast I went for one last look around the garden before going home. I even spotted the same slow worm at the same place I’d spotted him at the few days before. Here are some photos I took before setting off home.
On all three nights I managed to record some footage on my trail camera too which my next blog post will be all about!
There are many different reasons why culling the badgers by shooting them or gassing them won’t control or stop the spread of bTB (Bovine Tuberculosis) in cattle. As a young wildlife enthusiast I thought I’d do a blog post explaining three different reasons why, in my opninion, culling badgers won’t work. I want the cull to be taken no further and badgers to stop being killed for no reason. I know there is a problem with bTB in cattle but killing badgers is far from stopping this. In my opinion, shared by many others and supported by scientific evidence, vaccinating badgers will work much better and be much better for badgers as a species. Very often I hear people saying that we are against the cull because it’s killing animals; the culls the only answer; it will help other species and many other reasons which are not correct. The people making these points obviously have no knowledge of the cull, badgers or the natural world whatsoever. Here is a list of some of the main reasons into why the cull won’t work
- The first and main reason why the cull will not work is because of something called the ‘perturbation effect’. Badgers live in social groups of around four to seven animals and have defined territorial boundaries. Culling the badgers will interrupt these social groups which increases the risk of disease.
“Culling disrupts the organisation of these social groups, increasing the risks of disease transmission”
Here is a diagram illustration how the perturbation effect doesn’t work and only makes the spread of bTB worse.
2. The contact between cattle and badgers is actually very rare and the problem of bTB spreading isn’t just from badger to cattle but an infected cow passing it on to another. Cattle are more likely to get the disease then pass it onto other cattle. According to computer modeling studies, herd-to-herd transmission of bovine TB in cattle accounts for 94% of cases. Also scientific evidence from the randomized badger culling trials found around 6% of infected cattle catch TB directly from badgers.
3. Badgers aren’t the only species that carry the disease, here is a list of others:
Deer = 36% positive (including farmed, wild and park deer)
Cat = 25% positive
Dog = 27% positive
Pig = 19% positive
Alpaca = 56% positive
Sheep = 44% positive
Therefore to control it by culling animals we wouldn’t just have to kill badgers, but other UK species. However, we don’t know what individuals within a species carry the disease and we could be culling any animal which doesn’t carry bovine TB.
To help our badgers in the UK there are many different ways, for example you can donate money into the vaccination programs, support the different charities opposing the cull, sign petitions against it and much more!