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Monday, 19 April 2021

This is British wildlife history but who cares?

 



 It was said that The Red Paper was "explosive" with what it revealed about foxes, jackals, coyotes and wolves in the UK.

The follow-up, in which case, is going to be described as "Bloody Hell! We hit an ammo dump!"

There has been one major revellation after another and all are accidental discoveries. Today I received a brief email from a certain establishment. Very casual, however. (lets keep with the military metaphors) I was handed a hand grenade with the pin missing.

Everything is coming together but as there is no funding it will take a while. There appears to be no interest in funding the work from any source and so, as usual, that means plodding on slowly.

And, yes, some of this is inseperable from the Exotic fauna work as well as the work looking at wolverine - yes,breakthroughs- and even the British wild cat (F silvestris) and Ican now state that these cats DID NOT become extinct when we were told -proveable.

This evening, unless I get another email, I am going to sit back and let my head stop spinning. This is British wildlife history but who cares?

Thursday, 1 April 2021

NARFs and The British Fox Study



Above: The North American Red Fox

 If you have not read The Red Paper: Canids then it is very unlikely that you know the true story of British foxes. What we see today can easily be categorised as New Foxes as opposed to Old Fox types. The Red Paper: Canids was described as "explosive" and "totally rewrites the history of the fox in the UK".

The follow up will certainly carry on that tradition. Bit-by-bit I have pieced together that really should shake natural history in the UK to the core. 

We have irrefutable evidence that coyotes, wolves and jackals were released by British fox hunts.  This along with the importation of foxes from Europe as well as breeding foxes for future hunts is something it has taken a good few years to unearth and the information comes directly from the hunts.

I have clearly identified two fox types that seem typical of those found around the country. One of these is quite obviously of North American Red Fox (NARF) or Vulpes fulvus. 

Hayley de Ronde notes that in some areas the NARF has hybridised with or overtaken the number of British Red foxes.  This raises the concern that they will eventually replace the current British fox. She believes that the NARF were released following WW 2 and the eventual end of fur farming.

Hayley de Ronde notes that in some areas the NARF has hybridised with or overtaken the number of British Red foxes.  This raises the concern that they will eventually replace the current British fox.

The Fox Study which I began in 1977 was able to make significant breakthroughs in tracing the history of UK foxes. The current work is designed to try to identify fox types in the UK and note how far and wide certain types are.

There are important points to make.

1. This work is not going to be completed quickly. There is absolutely no funding so things can take a while as everything comes out of my pocket.

2. This is a private research project aimed at giving us a better understanding of UK foxes. There is no governmental involvement, funding and there is no private access to core data given to any government department or agency working with one. People deal with me and no one else. 

3. From 1977-2013 I was an exotic animals advisor to UK police forces and it that time absolutely no witness identification or location data was ever given out. Confidential is confidential and protection of the animals involved is paramount.

4. What I ask for from people who want to help out is simple; 

(a)how long have the foxes been coming to your garden/area? 

(b)Have the foxes always looked the same -no stranger colourations to coats? 

(c)Basic location info.  In Bristol I simply ask for the post code area such as BS2 or BS 11. Outside of the City & County of Bristol I simply ask for the town, city or village. This is to help me see what types are in what areas.

(d) Photographs. People may love their foxy visitors but they take them to be "just foxes". With a photograph or series of photos I can see a lot more and that information helps greatly.

(e) If you have a name for the fox(es) that visit please note that with photos because if there is something unique spotted at least I can say which fox I'm talking about.  All photos/videoes are logged with the photographers Name and Town or area. I do not claim any rights to the photographs or video clips received so please do not be concerned that these will be used widely or without your permission.

From all of this I can hopefully produce something useful to people interested in foxes.

If you can help then please email me at:  blacktowercg@hotmail.com

If you see a black fox it may well be an escaped pet and those have been killed in road accidents, shot and even snared in the past as they are domesticated pets and not capable of living in the wild. The best people to contact (if you can get a photo it helps) are Black Foxes UK and their contact info can be found here: 

https://www.blackfoxes.co.uk/contact-us.php

THANK YOU



Saturday, 27 March 2021

Dog-walkers warned as 20 giant South American rheas rampage around Herts housing estate

 Anyone know where they came from?

Around 20 giant South American birds are on the loose in Hertfordshire - with police warning they have been seen attacking dogs.

The rhea birds, which can grow to around 5ft tall and have a top speed of 50mph, have been spotted near Maple Cross.

Similar to an ostrich but smaller, the animals are believed to be wild.

PC Christian Gottmann, from the Rickmansworth and District Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: "These birds are certainly an unusual sight on the streets of Three Rivers.

"We want to reassure the public that we are working in partnership with Three Rivers District Council, Highways and our Rural Operational Support Team to come up with a plan to capture and rehome the birds to a suitable animal reserve.

"If you think you may be able to help with this, please get in touch with us. In the meantime, we would advise the public not to approach these animals as they are very fast, much like their larger counterparts, and can be aggressive if cornered.

"Unfortunately we have received reports of them attacking dogs and deer, so we ask that dog owners are vigilant when out walking."

The birds are the largest in South America, where they originate from, and can reach speeds of 50mph.

This is not the first time the rhea has been spotted roaming the streets of the UK.

In 2015, there were two sightings of male rheas in Worksop, Nottinghamshire but they belonged to a local man.

And last year, the long-necked bird was spotted walking between cars on the A12 in Colchester, causing traffic jams.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Two meerkats rescued from Dundee street

 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-56401540?fbclid=IwAR2jsff3XJs3Vi5vNDPnsgY7P05TUakV_BHd3-HyyQtVDewMTZUDyual8ig

MeerkatIMAGE COPYRIGHTSSPCA
image captionOne of the two meerkats rescued from Dundee's South Road

Two meerkats have been rescued after being spotted in a Dundee street.

The Scottish SPCA managed to catch one of the animals last Friday and the second on Saturday.

The charity believes the meerkats, which were both picked up from South Road, had been kept as exotic pets before escaping or being abandoned.

Meerkats are native to deserts and grasslands of southern Africa. Both rescued animals are now in the care of Dundee's Camperdown Wildlife Park.

MeerkatIMAGE COPYRIGHTSSPCA
image captionIt is thought the meerkats had been kept as pets

Ben Soutar, of the SSPCA, said: "It was certainly a very unusual rescue. I've never been called to rescue a meerkat before.

"We checked with Camperdown Wildlife Park but all their meerkats were accounted for, so it's a bit of a mystery as to where these two have come from."

The meerkats appeared to be "quite tame".

Mr Soutar said: "As with all exotic wild animals, we wouldn't recommend people keep animals like meerkats as pets as they have specialist needs that would be very hard for the average member of the public to replicate in a home environment."

Monday, 15 March 2021

Foxes, Badgers and Exotic Pets -Learn To RESPECT Them and LEARN About them

 


It is almpost depressing to note that since I first set up EAR and the Fox and Wild cats project things have not gotten any better. I tend to hear far more about escaped wolfdogs and silver foxes than genuine large cats these days.

The problem seems to be that people just do not "get animals" even if they think they do. I've seen footage of an idiot who thought he had a pet black panther and at one point he turned hios back to it -it rushed at him but he turned in time (what a hoot!)



Look at "The Lion Whisperer" and he KNOWS how to treat leopards -with respect and ALWAYS watching where they are.

I see people hand feeding badgers and my reaction is very rude. Even the "gentle swan" taking food from your hand can at times be painful so imagine a badger snatching food and your fingers getting in the way.

People coaxing wild foxes in to take food from their hands are another problem. I really hate seeing people get foxes used to humans and even teaching a fox to come out from cover with a whistle. I'd love to give a fox a smooth and tickle but NEVER a wild fox because they need to know never to trust people.

I'm sure that more than a few fox feeders who hand feed "their" foxes get the odd nip or two. People attract foxes and badgers to their gardens and then "The bloody things have a den under my decking!" or "I found fox crap on my patio!" THEN foxes are a bloody nuisance and problem.

No.

The PEOPLE are the problem because they are domesticating fgoxes with no idea about the animal.

Animals tend to trust me. I do not giove off any "threat vibes". I talk in a certain tone and I know how to let cats and dogs check me out and the various ways to communicate to them that I am friendly. In the past it has taken me up to 6 months to get a visiting cat to trust me.

"I don't touch you, you don't touch me" tends to be a good policy .

Even with Bella the cat now living next door but owning the gardens here, it took months after I found she was living under the conifer trees to let me get near her and talk (food bribery). I made the mistake of getting distracted as I put her food in a dish and on going indoors found that she had (without me noticing so her claws WERE sharp) left three long scratches on my hand. Even after all of these years I know she'll be smoothed but watch the tails, ears and that tell tale eye movement. She still has the wild streak (even with her humans next door!).

People take on pet or rescued red foxes or buy a silver fox or wolfdog and they have no idea what they are letting themselves in for (especially during mating season). I've seen how incredibly good and fast foxes are at digging and a garden fence is no obstacle to dig under or jump up on top of or even climb -I've seen that (cats actually reaching up to undo door catches was an eye opener to me!).

Wolfdogs getting out and having to fend for themselves in the wild for more than a year are not going to fair well against a farmer or shooter who fancies himself as a hunter or wanting a trophy kill -even if livestock are never attacked -Lemur shot by a farmer as it was near his sheep and looked "unususual" and an arctic fox shot by a farmer because "it looked unusual"; something that looks like a wolf....

People need a lot more education on animals and some certainly need to be taught how to home and look after their 'pets'!

This is British wildlife history but who cares?

    It was said that  The Red Paper  was "explosive" with what it revealed about foxes, jackals, coyotes and wolves in the UK. The...