Author Topic: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps  (Read 7232 times)

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Offline I Could Do That

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Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« on: May 01, 2014, 07:25:09 AM »
Is this even legal?

60 water voles (endangered species) are to be removed from an area where they have managed to survive  (Whichelstowe) and taken to an area where they are currently extinct (Hampshire)

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/11180410.Voles_are_moved_ahead_of_canal_work/

Allegedly this is being done to protect them from development.

If it were a dozen voles, or if they were taken to different counties, I might believe this report.
However they are removing 60 and taking them (according to Adver comments) to a place that is rife with predators.

Any other town would probably set up a mini reserve where people might part with cash to view rare creatures.
Unfortunately, Swindon being a developers slag means they get destroyed under a cloud of spin?


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Offline Muggins

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2014, 07:53:11 AM »
I thought that was strange too.  I'm sure it's not legal and yes, usually every effort was made to take care of such a rare species in Swindon. 

I would think that at least Natural England would be involved and the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, let alone any Vole protection groups, seeing how hard they've all worked to get the species back in our rivers.  In fact I would have thought their presence enough to stop any work there going ahead. I would have thought that if Voles were doing so well there (60) that they would have been triumphantly heralding that throughout the land and ensuring the habitat remained at all costs. 

I'm wondering with cutback if the same is happening to NE and WWT that has happened to SBC that there is practically no none left with enough knowledge to make decisions. 

They also kept that quite until it had happened, didn't they.

If the report is right and none of the above was in place to accommodate the Voles, I wonder if they have miss identified the species and they are in fact - rats?

Then again we all know from experience the contempt in which (some of) our councillors hold our other rare species the Greater Crested Newt.

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Offline I Could Do That

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2014, 08:24:44 AM »
Quote
If the report is right and none of the above was in place to accommodate the Voles, I wonder if they have miss identified the species and they are in fact - rats?

The one in the photo is definitely a water vole.

I live next to a stream and a farm  so I often see rats. (We had to make our bird feeder rat-proof)

Water voles have less prominent ears and rounder snouts than rats

It would be much more sensible to look after the voles in a protected compound and then return them to their home territory
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2014, 08:50:04 AM »
Yikes, that's scary - a ecological consultancy!!!  Danger, Danger!!  So I looked them up and there is the same picture of the vole in the Adver.

http://www.keyenv.co.uk/news/keystone-ecology-play-their-part-in-water-vole-conservation/

Seems to me they've nicked our voles to boost their own population elsewhere.

I would be expecting them to be promising to return said Voles, or their offspring, at a time when it is safe.

Is this a plot? Take way the rare species and they have a free run to develop what they like, where they like.

At least it appears to be under Licence from Natural England. But then NE might just be in the situation of only being able to rubber stamp things without better consideration.

Reading that again, it looks like the 60 might be from different sites all over Wiltshire and they are hoping that any left will re-colonise etc.

Off to read up on the Biodiversity action plan to see if those Voles were already there, or if some group or other put them there for some reason.   Like re-introducing them to our water ways. 
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline I Could Do That

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2014, 09:23:26 AM »
Quote
Reading that again, it looks like the 60 might be from different sites all over Wiltshire and they are hoping that any left will re-colonise etc.


Nope. The plot thickens

The same site has links to a BBC report and it would appear that ALL of the voles have been taken from Swindon

http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-27144611

These are quotes from the BBC link

More than 60 endangered water voles captured on canals in Swindon are to be released into a river in Hampshire.

The water vole is one of Britain's fastest-declining mammals but according to Ms Jackson, there is a "healthy population" on the Wichelstowe stretch of canal in Swindon.

"On a 560m (1,840ft) section of canal, we assumed a population of around 45 to 50 voles and caught around 40 animals - which is a decent number."
(major under-statement!!)

In weeks, 40 voles were captured, along with 20 more on an old section of canal running through Studley Grange. (Junction 16 garden centre)

It's not too late yet

The voles will be protected (in Dorset) until summer when they will be released (in Hampshire) as food for otters and mink to wipe out

We have a huge van and lots of pond equipment and Mrs ICDT has even agreed that we could build a temporary compound in our back garden if necessary.

The voles should be returned to their successful habitat (in due course)
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Offline Tobes

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2014, 09:37:02 AM »
This story does seem utterly, utterly bizarre.

We have a stable (and therefore very rare) population of one of our most endangered mammals right on our doorstep.

And yet the proposed action of the 'ecological consultancy' is to move them to a place in which voles are extinct.

One of the commentards on the adver pages makes a very cogent point.

WHY are they extinct in the place they propose to move them to? If the environment is suitable, voles should ALREADY be thriving there, surely? The fact that there are no voles kind tells us something.

All I se in this story is an attempt at spin and a move by the developers to justify the eradication of a protected and rare species so it doesn't get in the way of their plans.

Now since when did the interests of any man or beast get in the way of a planner turning a profit in Chavopolis, eh?
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Offline Tobes

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2014, 09:38:22 AM »
... What bodies or organisations could we tell about this rather obvious contradictory approach...?
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline I Could Do That

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2014, 09:43:49 AM »
... What bodies or organisations could we tell about this rather obvious contradictory approach...?
Was just about to post the same question.

I'm thinking BBC Nature Watch?

Spring Watch are on facebook and twitter.

I'm on neither so perhaps someone might refer them to this thread

I did pass a comment onto a BBC news site, but didn't mention development plans
« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 10:17:02 AM by I Could Do That »
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Offline I Could Do That

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2014, 02:14:10 PM »
Have now emailed mammal society, but their site only gets looked at weekly
http://www.mammal.org.uk
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2014, 02:51:39 PM »
Found my Wiltshire Biodiversity action plan 2008 and it says this:

Species
Water Voles can still be found in good numbers along the majority of rivers and streams in Wiltshire, and Otters are beginning to recolonise the area. The native White-clawed Crayfish still survives on the By Brook and in the Upper Bristol Avon, but it is thought to be virtually extinct in the Salisbury Avon, which is at least in part due to the presence of non-native crayfish.
One site on the Salisbury Avon has one of the few remaining wild populations of Summer Snowflake – Leucojum aestivum, which favours wooded swamps.
Water Vole Arvicola terrestris

The Water Vole has suffered one of the most catastrophic declines of any British mammal this century, and its widespread survival is now seriously threatened. Reasons for its decline include loss and fragmentation of habitat and the introduction and spread of one of its greatest predators - the American Mink. From 6th April 2008 the Water Vole received increased protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (Variation of Schedule 5) Order 2008. The Water Vole is now fully covered by the provisions of section 9 of the Act, and this increased protection adds prohibitions against intentional killing, taking or injury, possession or sale. Previously only the habitat of the Water Vole was protected.

Specific Sites in Wiltshire
Special Areas of Conservation

The Salisbury Avon and its headwater rivers are an internationally
important Special Area of Conservation (SAC), for their floating
Ranunculus (water crowfoot) communities and populations of Salmon,
Bullhead, Brook and Sea Lamprey and Desmoulin’s Whorl Snail.
Areas of swamp habitat alongside the River Kennet at Chilton
Foliat are also designated as SACs for their populations of
Desmoulin’s Whorl Snail.
Sites of Special Scientific Interest
Much of the Salisbury Avon and River Kennet are designated as
Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in recognition of the
habitats and species they support. In addition there are a
number of adjacent SSSIs which support associated habitats
including Porton Meadows and Jones’ Mill.
All main rivers are also County Wildlife Sites, regardless of their
statutory designations.
Picture: Water Crowfoot (Jenny Wheeldon)

There is a Swindon biodiversity action plan somewhere too.   I can't remember Swindon having a huge population of Voles. 

Have you tried the Wiltshire Mammal Group, found a couple names for that Martin Satinet being one. 

It gives a link on the back of the packet, I don't know if that its kept up, but 6 years is not so long 

www.biodiversitywiltshire.org.uk     As there is both Habitat and an Action plan, if this was going to happen then it should be in there. It states 'for the latest updates'.    I hope those plans are bring kept to, they took enough work and long enough to produce - and no mean bit of partnership and funding.

Here you go: http://www.wsbrc.org.uk/Links/LocalGroups/WiltshireMammalGroup/wideTemplate.aspx

You might get more joy there. 

And here:  http://www.wsbrc.org.uk/images/2013/8/LandscapeConser.pdf
 

My goodness, now I remember why I took a bit of a backwards step from all of this.

some gremlin has been at work and I suspect its Borough gremlin. 7F's no longer has a page on the SBC web page, or the Natural England web site - so the latter has had an email.  Searching all the sites, WBRSC WWT NE
SBC there is hardly name I remember, no wonder things go pear shaped.   

We were told that Swindon should have its own Biodiversity plan by the Wiltshire lot - and so it should, so why is it now lumped together as one? 

I think what we have here is another case of lost historical memory, why things were done and how!!
« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 03:38:42 PM by Muggins »
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Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2014, 09:43:36 PM »
This story does seem utterly, utterly bizarre.

That was my first thought when I read the story in the Adver.

Quote
We have a stable (and therefore very rare) population of one of our most endangered mammals right on our doorstep.

We have a good population of water voles in Swindon. As a bridge engineer, I have to request ecology surveys before carrying out any works. In my experience almost every time that I have worked on bridges over watercourses in Swindon there are water voles present. Certainly the main rivers have active populations. I asked an ecologist how rare they really are and he told me that they are quite common in the SW of England, especially in this area. They are much rarer in mainland Europe and else where in the UK hence the protected status.

Quote
And yet the proposed action of the 'ecological consultancy' is to move them to a place in which voles are extinct.

WHY are they extinct in the place they propose to move them to? If the environment is suitable, voles should ALREADY be thriving there, surely? The fact that there are no voles kind tells us something.

Again, this was my first thought, but they can only be moved under a licence from Natural England so I assume that it has been thought through by wildlife experts.

I think the argument is that the population in Swindon is healthy and possibly at optimum levels. If a number of voles are removed, the remaining population will expand again to fill the gap. Another possible reason for moving them to an area with no voles may be due to the territorial nature of voles. One alternative to 'capturing and relocating' voles is to 'displace' them by strimming back vegetation when they are dormant and encouraging them to move on of their own accord. This can be done without a licence. However, the displaced voles may stray into another voles patch and young aggressive males may fight to the death over territory. So if the captured voles are released in an area with existing vole populations they will probably kill each other.

This just a guess, but is it possible that the area they are being released to is a good habitat for voles, but the previous population were wiped out by mink. Now that the voles are extinct, the mink have no food and are also extinct making the site perfect for re-introducing voles.


Offline Muggins

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2014, 08:12:17 AM »
I had wondered about the territorial thing, and if they are territorial then if there are just a few voles in the area they are going to, it would knock out that colony, however small. 

I know they want to encourage otters, but I thought the mink were already a pest and violent one at that, so I can't think they would be moving them to provide a meal for them.  Mink being bigger I guess, if they found themselves hungry would just move on until they found food. 

All I know is, that within the last 20 years, I have been in meetings where the lot the Vole has been raised and discussions on how they can be encouraged to grow in numbers etc. or the numbers at least preserved.  Now that means either they have done exceedingly well in those numbers growing or we had a good lot to start with, in which case why were we talking about encouraging more? And if numbers were growing here why were they not in other areas? Like the area they are going to.

Swindon and it's environs seem to attract creatures that others don't have - that should be acknowledged - well, we thought it had been! - and accordingly protected - we thought that had too. 



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Offline Jean

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2014, 09:33:33 AM »
It is very worrying that Natural England approve these licences to move protected species so easily just so that developers can build.

When a planning application is made, and there is a known presence of a protected species or its habitat in the application area, the ecological "consultants" submit their reports and give assurance that mitigation measures will be taken to ensure that the species is going to be okay. I've never seen a report where the mitigation is to clear the species from the area, move them miles away, and then bring a few back maybe! 

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Offline Muggins

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2014, 11:34:03 AM »
Have to hold in mind that some ecological consultants don't always move from their chairs and use the Wilts Biological records as their point of reference.

Although I believe records are better kept now, it was only a few years ago, I found out that the records are only as good as those bothering to submit them.

Had this problem with how many badger setts in the area. the WBRO thought the nearest was 7 miles away when there was a lively sett only a half a mile away.  After all they don't  always get info about  peoples gardens and once the Badger Group were alerted they were straight there, and made sure they had input into the planning. However that planning application never got taken up and the land was sold on and the planning done again. I think this happened a total of five times before development actually started. Goodness knows what's happened to that sett now,  it wasn't a large one, but nonetheless when the badger group were involved they made sure a piece of land was set aside and foraging room too.   I have tried to get round to see, but it's still mostly building site, with no paths and no proper built up roads yet.

We later had a problem with an ecological consultant who had to get the Local Bat Group to do the Bat survey, this happened to be some time after the other survey due to it having to be at a particular time of year. By the time they went in, it was after the building had been knocked down and mistakenly surveyed the wrong building - I don't think they still know they did this.  Luckily they found bats in the area, flying but we'll never know if they were using the building as a roost. Also this points to consultants using consultants.

The surveyors/consultant also completely ignored the fact on both counts, that it was right next to two sites of great nature interest and huge potential for foraging and there being every likelihood that all sorts might be there. 

I had a phone conversation this morning with  a rep from Wilts and Swindon Local Nature Partnership, who also wondered about the Voles, but he knows the way the WWT works and feels confident that it would have been properly discussed etc. Well let's hope so!
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2014, 11:52:54 AM »
Now here’s a tale about Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. They very generously offered to house reptiles displaced by developers of a new container port in Essex in exchange for £180,000, to buy Sandpool Farm, in The Cotswold Water Park, so that they could release the animals there.

A couple of years later, the very same Wiltshire Wildlife Trust put in a planning application to turn the very same Sandpool Farm into a solar photovoltaic power generating site. At this time they said that the site wasn’t important for wildlife. Happily the general public got it all stopped.

http://calumma.typepad.com/lee_bradys_recording_blog/2013/07/plans-for-cotswold-water-park-solar-farm-cause-concern.html
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2014, 02:59:00 PM »
Yes, I've had my concerns about a quite a few of the bigger players in the Voluntary Sector - but it's more important to me that the Wildlife things function properly.  There was no problem as I could see it until the last government told them they had to be more businesslike and the government and Local  authorities  ceased funding or helping with funding for those players.

I've said before that originally all were funded to be independent and give independent advice  and deliver  independent services based on the aims of whatever organisation. After hat the funding was withdrawn, and this was after the government said it wanted the voluntary sector to do more and set up commissioning.

The 'players' had no alternative but to seek private funding or sign contracts to keep going and keep jobs. either way, if they got the commissioning contracts or really private money they then started - had no choice really - but to dance to the tune of the piper.  I think they took the approach that it was better to keep going imperfectly rather than close and NOTHING to be done.  But I do wonder, in that, how far off their aims do they go to keep going?  What have they done, that they would not have done if they had more independence with the funding? 

I'm not accusing any one group of doing this but there was definitely a change in direction from some of them and a withdrawal of, I'm not sure of how to describe this?? Hmmm, clarity? interface?  Mind, that could be for the same reasons Jean and I have been discussing on another thread, that the means to meet, support and/or challenge has dried up.

For instance, a little, but meaningful instance, was yesterday when I found out that there was such a thing as a Local Nature Partnership, I wondered how come I hadn't heard of it, or invited to be on it, or meetings etc.
I seem to have slipped off their network altogether. Probably others have too.

I can't think that's my fault, I'm fully kitted out with the means to communicate and be communicated with and my details and interest are widely recorded in all the places they should be looking. And not all the historical knowledge can be gone, some of the major players/workers are still there.

It's like some orgs have gone into a bunker expecting a big bang at any moment, we are living in strange times.

We also have to remember that if, and it appears the SBC do have to ask about wildlife issues at planning, these orgs can be the very ones they ask. I wonder if the Environmental/ecology contractors are made up of made redundant workers.




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Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2014, 08:45:16 PM »
I know they want to encourage otters, but I thought the mink were already a pest and violent one at that, so I can't think they would be moving them to provide a meal for them.

I wasn't suggesting that the voles were intended to be mink food.

I meant that if the vole population died out, the mink would also have starved or moved on. The area might now be mink free and an ideal new home the for the voles. (I wonder if they will be paying full market or social rent !!)


Offline Muggins

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2014, 09:15:18 PM »
Would think they were more from the self build crowd!

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Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2014, 10:24:44 PM »
Mink will eat anything. If they have finished off the voles then they will be eating birds, birds eggs, rabbits, anything. They are vicious predators.
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Endangered Species Sent To Death Camps
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2014, 07:56:14 AM »
Thought that myself Outer, are they voracious enough to eat themselves out of an habitat, do you think.

What I mean is, that I know most wildlife keep their numbers up/down in ratio to the food bank near/in their habitat, are Mink different?  Never had to swat up on them. 

Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)