Tag Archives: wildlife

Threat posed by wild foxes

People are being warned to be more cautious and vigilant around foxes as numbers of reported incidents involving the wild animal are on the rise.

Foxes are becoming more dangerous to people and animals. Sightings of foxes in gardens are being reported more often and fears that they are no longer afraid or nervous around people or domestic animals are increasing.

Last week it was reported that a 37 year old male had collapsed in Edinburgh’s St Michael’s Parish Church Cemetery and woke up later having been attacked, seemingly by a fox. Andrew Stewart took an overdose of pills and blacked out. His nose and fingers had been bitten and received treatment for his injuries in the Royal Infirmary. This attack has raised fears that foxes are becoming far bolder in approaching people; with vulnerable groups such as young children and the elderly at most risk. City councillors have been pushing for environmental Chiefs to take action.

Not only are these wild animals potentially dangerous, we have never been faced with this problem before and as a community we know little about how harmful these animals could be. A spokesperson for The Fox Project said “Incidents where a fox attacks an animal or human are very rare. Normally the fox will give them a warning to scare them rather than attacking straight away.”

City pet owners have also been warned to lock up their animals as foxes will use them for food. Despite a national rise in reported fox attacks Paul Gallagher from the Scottish Wildlife Trust feels there is little to fear; “When one or two things happen like this the press sensationalise it and make foxes out to be evil and dangerous when really it’s no more a problem now than it was a few years ago.”

In the animals defence Trevor Williams from The Fox Trust said “Occasionally there are reports of guinea pigs and rabbits taken from insecure pens but it is the fault of the owners. Foxes don’t seek out trouble and they’re not sturdy enough to stand up to dog or cat attacks.”

People need to protect their children and domestic animals by taking measures themselves. High fences are the best deterant. It is not a good idea to leave food out in your garden however Trevor Williams has said “we don’t advocate feeding but people have every legal right to feed foxes if they wish.”

Horror as Insects Infest Homes

By: Liam McGowan

Date: 22/10/09

Spiders and insects have been reported in their multitudes in homes and gardens all over the UK this Autumn.

As forecast by entomologists earlier in the year, wildlife enthusiasts and arachnophobes alike have remarked on the notable increase of home-invading arachnids and arthropods. One arachnophobe  who has observed the creepy-crawly phenomenon commented, ” it has been absolutely horrific. Every day there are about half-a-dozen spiders on the walls and ceilings.I have also seen abnormally high numbers of other insects in my home- I can’t relax because of it”.

Spider experts are however urging the public not to kill these eight-legged home invaders: despite their ghastly reputation, it has been stressed that spiders are a friend as opposed to a foe. Of Britain’s many species, none are harmful and virtually all of them are helpful in preventing insect numbers from spiralling out of control.

Experts have confirmed conjectures by the public that these events can be largely attributed to the UK’s ever-changing climate- we have experienced unusually temperate conditions since winter ended, with temperatures fluctuating very little and rainfall uncharacteristically scarce.

Wildlife conservationists are expected to respond positively to this dramatic surge in certain species’ populations, as insect numbers are integral to Britain’s biodiversity.

There is, unfortunately, a negative flipside for the species that do not fare well in warm, dry conditions- climate change has proved devastating to some species which were once considered common in the UK. The ladybird and the bumble bee, which were once considered as symbols of the British outdoors, have now all but disappeared across many parts of the country, much to the dismay of nostalgic ramblers and enthusiasts- some claim that the character of the British countryside is dying- literally- along with these amicable insects.

Depleted bumble bee numbers is also a cause of concern for botanists, who are alarmed that its diminishing presence is likely to be exceedingly detrimental to the plants that it has pollinated for thousands of years. The survival of plants and insects, they claim, is inextricably linked.

Wildlife experts in Scotland have in recent years have reported changes in Highland Scotland’s holarctic winter climate, with warmer temperatures threatening to jeopardise the future of many of the country’s arctic species. The mountain hare, which dons a white coat in winter in order to take refuge from predators in the snow, is an easy target if the snow melts or fails to come. Alpine moths and butterflies are also diminishing as mountain temperatures rise and snowcaps melt.

In addition to the damage being done by climate change within our shores, migrating wildlife from overseas threatens to tamper further with the balance of plants and animals in the British ecosystem. Hornets from the far-east threaten to cause havoc in the UK as they have in europe, wiping out and destroying many species.

In addition to the detriment of climate change to our wildlife, arachnophobes, and entomophobes also have cause for concern. And before long we might be seeing a mosquito invasion… and we had the cheek to complain about our weather!

Scots bird team to promote conservation in Syria

By Rebecca Jamieson

Four Scottish conservationists from the RSPB are travelling to Syria to promote conservation as part of the Darwin Initiative.

This scheme was set up in 1992 to assist countries that are rich in biodiversity but poor in financial resources.

As well as promoting conservation, the team will be searching for two of Syria’s most critically endangered birds – the sociable lapwing and the bald ibis.  Only two pairs of bald ibis are known in the Middle East, and both of these are in Syria. The sociable lapwing is a species that has been in sharp decline over recent years.

Sociable lapwing
Sociable lapwing

Recent satellite tracking has shown that Syria is a critical stop-off point for these migratory birds, and it is hoped the Scottish team will be able to locate groups in the northeastern deserts.

The team will be working with local people and government officials, in a partnership which brings together the RSPB, the Syrian Ministry of the Environment and the Syrian Society for the Conservation of Wildlife.

Mr Scott from the RSPB said “All four of us are very excited. We hope to see some amazing birds, but more importantly pass on our knowledge and expertise to a nation that hosts some critical areas for wildlife. 

“It is a vast country, but not enough is known about its stunning birdlife. From correspondence, the Syrians are clearly passionate about their wealth of wildlife, and we hope to help them in any way we can.

“Being able to survey in such a country is a real privilege.”