Stampede for Rhinos and Elephants

A couple of years back when I first became aware of how the countryside isn’t all this glorious place I was so frightened to see the behaviour and activity that takes place. Obviously not for my own sake but for the sake of wildlife and their habitats. I remember looking into it and thinking surely that doesn’t still take place?! Most, if not all, hold no place in society today yet still do and are done so with pleasure, fun and the intention of greed. Context I’d expect to hear in one of history lessons.

I sometimes hear disputes amongst people about how British wildlife needs us here so we should put everything into that. That’s a good point but when you lean more about how similar the situations elsewhere in the world are it’s terrifying and makes you realise it’s not just the UK that’s somewhat stuck in the dark ages but many other places too. For example, it’s an odd comparison but compare the Hen Harrier to an African elephant. One main reason why Hen Harriers are persecuted is for greed, much like the killing of elephants, this is done to protect grouse which they then make money from (and for fun). Much like they do with the tusks of elephants. My point is, putting the pounds in their pocket in front of the life of an animal. That’s only a slight and brief comparison but another aspect which seems to have a big connection is the some sort of pleasure they get. From trophy hunting to badger baiting.

There are obviously a lot more influences too, for example who’s in power, community, culture etc. Thinking about it all of the top of my head I can think of quite a lot of examples of the persecution of wildlife around the world. All in different circumstances and locations yet all for similar reasons. Fortunately though, just like there’s people in the UK you may know who’s work is just fantastic, these people obviously do exist elsewhere too and it’s still important to try and support their work.

Although trying to spread yourself out everywhere would be brilliant, it isn’t possible. Something that hits me quite a lot. However I wanted to show my support and join those who had organised a march in London last Saturday for rhinos and elephants, against the ivory trade.

It was an early train into London and a 10.45 start at Cavendish Square for the day ahead. The march passed through different places including Leicester Square and past the South African Embassy before finishing outside the gates of Downing Street where a host of talks were given from the likes of Dominic Dyer, Born Free Foundation and of course Badger Trust, Nicky Campbell, presenter as well as animal lover, Philip Manbridge, Director of IFAW UK, and a few more too.

Here are some photos from the day.

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96 ELEPHANTS KILLED IN AFRICA EVERYDAY.

Celebrate badgers with National Badger Day!

As you’ll know today is of course National Badger Day!

Many people are shouting out about it, whether that be on social media (#NationalBadgerDay – which has been trending all morning!) or in person, there’s events taking place all around the country, the NBD film is being shown to children and much more! It’s a really wonderful day and one we should all use to celebrate this iconic and charismatic species. All of us should be doing our part to protect these animals as they really do need our help.

It’s hard not to think about the horrible ongoings of the cull right now. With patrols still tirelessly venturing out night after night in the cull zones, it’s important to support the work they do in saving these animals lives.  As well as this, unfortunately they are the target of a lot of persecution and unlike the cull it happens all over the UK. Whether it be badger baiting or disturbance, it’s so important that we’re keeping a watchful eye out for these animals.

So, whatever you do today make sure it includes something positive for badgers, they deserve it! Whether it be at an event or telling other people all about them.

You can see the full film here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drcBAct42TQ&feature=youtu.be

I’m very pleased to be part of the video and I’ll also be wearing my National Badger Day badge whilst at sixth form today along with talking to some of the younger years about it later this week!

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September’s uproar

Right then. So no-one’s allowed to speak out about the persecution of Hen Harriers any more, even though it’s a crime, or the negative impacts of driven grouse shooting, even though they scale out the positive ones, or how all science about the cull says it won’t work, even though there’s no science suggesting it will, or the horrific cruelty to species like the fox if the Hunting Act was to be repealed, even though they’d probably be killed in unimaginable ways, and so on.

Sounds morally wrong to me but these are the suggestions of those at the Countryside Alliance and some more, who are trying to silence us ‘tree-hugging townies’ that know nothing about the countryside. Don’t even mention that ‘prada wearing, muddled’ guy, Chris Packham! As Robin Page has put it, the ‘Packham Loop’.

As many will know, in the September issue of the BBC Wildlife Magazine, like most issues, Chris Packham published, once again, a very interesting and thought provoking article. However this one was like no other. I don’t think anyone was expecting to find that the result of it would be such a bash up from those on the opposite side of the table. After the Countryside Alliance got wind that was when it all set alight.

They were furious that not only was he speaking out against a lot of the things their organisation believes in but people were listening to him! How dare they?! By this I mean they were rather annoyed that he was allowed to speak about things when he has a job like he does. Where people do follow him, support him and listen unlike you Mr Bonner. What attention do you get apart from mainly bad? Then again I suppose any attention is good attention for him, this is illustrated nicely by a few of his tweets.

This afternoon I came across another article from someone who never seeks to surprise me, Robin Page. A ludicrous man and a perfect example that people ‘like him’ are on a completely different page to a lot of people, especially those who CARE and want the best for the countryside in the way that it can thrive. I’ve read a few articles about this issue like this but I’ve also read some very positive ones too, along with comments on various articles which say it all really. Those at the forefront may be a minority but we are growing and when we do get the message out there people will realise.

It has become quite a twisted issue though. From a regular column in the BBC Wildlife Magazine, which was primarily about the work of Britain’s conservation charities, it has turned into something where the CA are lobbying to get Chris the sack and basically find someone to pick on. We’ll never be silence though and this is obvious by the uproar that’s happened in support of Chris and the work that he does.

So, thank you for all of your targeting as, if anything, you brought an army closer together. With over 70,000 signatures in just a matter of days on a petition, what can I say. Except it’s a shame they haven’t all signed this one too! – https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104441

As well as that, I think at this point it could be a good idea to write to the BBC Wildlife Magazine expressing your opinion and views on it all. I imagine they’ve probably been sent some negative comments and we need to make sure that the comments in support are overpowering those against. It wouldn’t surprise me if they do a page on the feedback or just for the normal comments page. Not only to make it clear that we support Chris but to make sure they know we aren’t going anywhere and what he says is agreed with by many. An email to do so with would be – wildlifeletters@immediate.co.uk

Dear Mr Gibb…

If you read one of my latest posts, Thanks Mr Gibb but nature is important, you’ll know that back in July I met with my local MP and then went onto write to Nick Gibb, Minister of State at the Department of Education, about the need for outdoor/environmental education on the National Curriculum.

After Nick Gibb’s very unhelpful, but predictable, reply I have gone on to set up a very exciting project/campaign that I hope to share with you all in the next few days. Along with this I also wrote back to him. I haven’t received a reply yet but I’ve decided to share the letter that I wrote with you all.

Dear Mr Gibb

 

Thank you for your reply to my letter, a copy of which I have attached. I’m pleased you took the time to reply to what I had to say regarding the need for more outdoor education at primary level.

 

However, I would like to reply and add to my point. In the letter it seems you have stated what is on the National Curriculum at the moment, I had done my research before sending you the letter so knew this already. I feel as though you have not considered my point and you don’t reply to my statement that we need more young people coming through into either professions in conservation etc or the importance of why every child needs to have a connection with their natural surroundings. I don’t mean to be rude but do you not understand that nature is important?

 

You mention how the environment is included in biology and geography. When I think back to any environmental education throughout my primary education I can’t think of one example. I asked my brother and he said he may be able to think of one, however this was organised solely through the school. The only reason why he remembers this is because it was practical, which is what’s so important. It imprints in your mind due to the amazement you experience.

 

I go into local primary schools and do activities with younger children through community based projects. some of which I’ve helped set up myself. The last visit into a school was just a couple of weeks ago when we did bug hunting with year 2’s. None of them had done anything like this before. When a blackbird flew past, they had no idea what it was.

 

My point is, if there is a teaching of nature in schools which is already on the curriculum then it simply isn’t enough. One of the children said that it was one of the best days of his life! It not only benefited him in the way that he learnt something new but it made him feel better, made him happy. Isn’t making a young child at school happy something that you should aim for? Improving a child’s education? Except I know that he will most likely never do anything like that again. It was a one off project, the school have obviously not enrolled in something like this before or else he would have been able to tell me. In today’s society when most parents worry about dangers and so called ‘dangers’ he probably won’t be encouraged to do it again either.

 

A question I’d like you to ask yourself is when you were younger, how did you fill the time when you had nothing to do or just for something to do in general? If you were like my parents and grandparents then it was the case of just going outside. Climbing trees, riding bikes, playing sport in big open fields, appreciating the wildlife around and so on. Perhaps it was something you took for granted as it was always there and always an option? Your parents had no problem with it and nether did society. As well as this, at the moment, deep down I’m sure you understand and know what towards nature has positive and negative impacts. From Wikipedia I know you were born in 1960. From the State of Nature report I also know that since 1970, when you would of been 10, 60% of animals and plants studied have declined.  Along with other threats too. Now isn’t that scary? Well more then scary, nature not only in the UK but abroad too is in some trouble. We can do what we can now but what about the future? What way will it go? With figures showing only 1 in 10 children connect with nature, I’m very worried and it could well be very bleak.

 

But why is that so important to be acting for nature? Well you just think back to what you had to eat last night, everything on that plate was only there because of the natural world. All the ecosystems. It’s why we’re here today so not only is it beautiful and enjoyable but important to all of us.

 

I’ve gone a bit away from the point but I wanted to make myself clear. Even though some outdoor education is there, I know it varies from school to school. A child isn’t going to develop any type of interest when they have a couple of lessons in year 2 then a couple in year 5. I’m sure you’re very aware that it doesn’t work like that. Although out of school outdoor activities, sessions etc for children are very important, not every child has the privilege to attend.

 

I have many more points that I can add to my argument and I would appreciate it if you could take some more time out and we could arrange to chat about this extremely important subject in person.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Georgia Locock