William Powell Country

Declining Wildlife

Rural Matters

Article written by 20 December 2012

The summer of 2012 dealt a nasty blow to wildlife of most places in the UK and while most of you who are reading this are involved in shooting you would also like to see more wildlife around but the problem is that most of our wildlife is declining.

There are various reasons why our wildlife is declining, one reason is intensive agriculture but even in areas of theUKwhere agriculture is not intensive it is still declining. Another reason of course is the amount of vermin there is about. 60 years ago Foxes and Badgers were a rarity in many parts of the country, in fact my father planted two spinneys in 1948 and installed an artificial fox earth in both of them because he thought there weren’t enough foxes around. He was a keen huntsman but there is no doubt that there were far fewer foxes around then than there are now.

In fact all vermin seems to have increased, one farmer I know says he has 30 badger sets on his 600 acre farm and Buzzards are everywhere, so why has there been this explosion of all this wildlife most of us don’t want and those that we do want are declining?

There is no doubt that Foxes do very well in large towns or cities but I see the main reason for their increase in numbers is because we have reared so many pheasants. These pheasants are only half sharp and are an easy meal for a fox and now that we are rearing so many partridges he will easily stumble across one at night roosting on the ground. Any animal that has a surplus of food will increase in numbers, we only have to look at ourselves to realise that. With this surplus of food foxes have spread to all corners of theUKand are ruining the populations of ground nesting birds.

We serve the crow family breakfast every morning on the road so they have a surplus of food and they have increased in numbers.

Many gamekeepers to day are focused more on rearing game than on killing vermin which is just putting food in the mouths of foxes so why not rear a few less pheasants and partridges and concentrate on killing vermin. If we could all do this the whole countryside would benefit.

Nicholas Watts – Nicholas is the owner of Vine House Farm and has been running the farm since 1966. Nicholas is passionate about wildlife and in1982 he decided to do a breeding bird survey on the farm and has done so every year sin.. Read more.

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