Saturday 2 December 2023

Face Book -Time To Stop Supporting Wildlife Killing (even if you are Americans)


Image from Face Book

 Face Book thought that suggesting one of its pages Coyote Hunting would be something I am interested in.

Me, a conservationist specialising in felids and canids.

Lots of grinning psychopaths holding up dead coyotes, showing footage of their killing coyotes and so on.

So I reported it as violence and animal abuse.

I do not think that at a time when canids world wide -foxes, wolves, coyotes, dingoes and others are facing death on a massive scale that FB should be providing social media (and there are a good few 'sport' pages that are showing illegal activity) for what amounts to 'killing for fun' and wildlife destruction.

Time FB stopped thinking about the money and data snatching and more about the world we are living in.
image from Face Book

FB response which is the same response for ANYTHING reported. I suggest those that are anti hunting and pro environmental development find a new social platform. I will be looking for one over the next month as FB supports blood sports and that includes the illegal aspects of these groups.,

"To keep our review process as fair as possible, we use the same set of Community Standards to review all reports.
We've taken a look and found that the group doesn't go against our Community Standards.
We understand that this might be upsetting, so we recommend exploring the options available to control what you see.
If you want us to review something specific within a group, make sure that you report the content (for example, photo), not the entire group.
You can also request a review within 180 days if you disagree with the decision to not take this down."

Friday 24 November 2023

A Thylacine Photo?


"This image was taken by a man named Peter Groves in January of 2019. He claims to have seen the thylacine when he was walking a trail in Clifton Springs, Australia. Groves said that the animal did not seem to be wary of him at all and that they stared at each other for about 5 minutes. Some believe it looks like a mangy canine or a fox, but others see a striking resemblance to the thylacine that was in the film The Hunter and dub it as a hoax."

For 5 minutes they watched each other and this was the BEST photo? He is describing fox behaviour and, sadly, not a thylacine, but a fox with mange and how anyone can think it is anything other than that beats me. Enlargement below

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Badger Sett Interference N Yorkshire Police Appeal


Can you help with this wildlife crime investigation?

We need to trace these three men following a serious case of badger sett interference.
It happened in Nunnington, between Malton and Helmsley.
Police enquiries are under way and we believe the men pictured may have information that could help.
If you recognise them or have any other information, please email or call us on 101 and ask for Jeremy Walmsley.
If you wish to remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Please quote reference number 12230203266 when passing on information.

To Answer A Question

 Yes, a few of the longer posts have been saved back to draft NOT deleted. The reason is that a lot of people read them but with no feedback or commenting it seemed pointless to keep them up especially as material was being used uncredited.

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Genetic swamping of the critically endangered Scottish wildcat was recent and accelerated by disease -a brief response


The European wildcat population in Scotland is considered critically endangered as a result of hybridization with introduced domestic cats, though the time frame over which this gene flow has taken place is unknown.

Quadrupeds by Bewick as well as many other sources (see The Red Paper 2022 Vol. II: Felids) it is quite clearly stated that the British wild cat has only survived up to the 18th/19th centuries due to interbreeding with domestic cats. It was believed at that time that interbreeding had started taking place probably after the Roman conquest of Britain (this is dealt with in more detail in The Red Paper Felids).

The biggest problem here is that the term “European wild cat” is used. The DNA does indeed match the European wild cat for a very simple reason; they were imported into the UK for many private as well as travelling menageries as well as for sport -we have at least three pairs “turned down” (released) in North of England shooting territories in the 1920s. Wild cats escaped and there is enough anecdotal evidence as well as taxidermy to prove that wild cvats were in England and hybridising in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.

Some of the most noted zoologists/naturalists and ‘sportsmen’ (hunters/shooters) on visiting museum collections in the late 1800s and early 1900s reported how they saw no true wild cat specimens but only hybrids and they used well established wild cat diagnostic features to show this. I have not found one UK museum with any taxidermy of what we define as true wild cats and all were acquired -/+1900. A meeting of Scottish naturalists and zoologists in 1897 declared that what would have been called the true Scottish wild cat had become extinct by the 1860s (Red Paper Felids). The only collection of genuine Scottish wild cats I know of is the Extinct Fox and Wild Cats Museum and these are specimens from the 1830s when the species was becoming rare.

Via contemporary records, and many exist and are not hard to find, we can date wild cat-feral domestic hybridisation having been known and recorded as far back as the Medieval period but more ‘modern’ accounts exist from the 18th century and that is a date well beyond the claimed

onset of hybridization was only within the last 70 years” (ie. 1953)

Here, using genome data from modern, museum, and ancient samples, we reconstructed the trajectory and dated the decline of the local wildcat population from viable to severely hybridized. We demonstrate that although domestic cats have been present in Britain for over 2,000 years, the onset of hybridization was only within the last 70 years.

The question is where did the “ancient samples” come from -Europe? If so then they cannot be relevant to the Scottish wild cat. Britain was isolated from continental Europe over 10,000 years ago when Doggerland was submerged. Foxes, wolves and wild cats remained isolated and not affected by island dwarfism. We know that foxes had developed three types to survive in their specific habitats -the Greyhound or mountain fox (the largest), the Hill or mastiff fox (smaller than the former but of sturdy build) and the Common or cur fox -small and living near to human settlements. The counterpart to the Old fox existed in Western Europe until hunting allowed the red fox to move in.

We need far more research on the Western European wild cats but it is possible that they were similar to those in Britain the size and power of which were legendary and even packs of dogs sent to hunt a wild cat were given leather studded collars to prevent them being killed. Wild cats were noted for their size and when still to be seen in England were known as “The English Tiger” as term later used for the Scottish wild cat -”The Highland Tiger” which indicated that the centuries of ‘sporting’ eradication as well as wiping out local populations for the bounties paid had pushed the true Scottish cat further north. What is seen today is the same as what we see in the red fox -imported animals that were released or escaped and due to various factors (Red Paper Felids) became known as the Scottish wild cat.

Our analyses reveal that the domestic ancestry present in modern wildcats is markedly over-represented in many parts of the genome, including the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). We hypothesize that introgression provides wildcats with protection against diseases harbored and introduced by domestic cats, and that this selection contributes to maladaptive genetic swamping through linkage drag. Using the case of the Scottish wildcat, we demonstrate the importance of local ancestry estimates to both understand the impacts of hybridization in wild populations and support conservation efforts to mitigate the consequences of anthropogenic and environmental change.

There is no true existing Scottish wild cat and has not been one since the 1860s and what is now called the Scottish wild cat has been surviving by breeding with feral domestic cats and both are snared, shot and killed in other ways on private estates despite legal ‘protection’[ for the former and just a survey I carried out two years ago on Scottish wild life groups showed how ‘diagnostic features’ were argued about “A short tail and it’s a wild cat” and “No, a short tail is proof of a hybrid” and for that reason gamekeepers and others can kill the cats with impunity because “no one can prove a cat is a genuine wild cat”. The feral domestic cat has been keeping what we now know as Scottish wild cats going as a population for a long time and the idea of a “pure blood” is something of a fantasy. Any cats released now as Scotti8sh wild cats will still be under threat while they and feral domestics can be killed with impunity.

Here, we generated and analyzed whole-genome sequence data to date the onset of significant hybridization in Britain and assess potential consequences for wildcats carrying introgressed

domestic cat DNA.Our data comprised domestic cats, 30 wild living individuals from Scotland sampled across the hybrid swarm, and six wildcats from the UK captive population (founded on wild animals from Scotland). Seven additional wildcat samples were obtained from Germany and Portugal. We also made use of low-coverage, whole-genome sequence data

from historicandarchaeological samples, specifically fourputative Scottish wildcats (museum specimens sampled 1906–1939, 0.3– 4.73) and two archaeological samples from Medieval (16th century, 0.93) and Mesolithic Britain (8,459–8,272 cal. BP, 0.23).3 Additional low-coverage genomic data (0.02–0.073) were obtained from 20 museum samples of putative Scottish wildcats.

Really the Mesolithic specimens would not show a great deal when compared to the current Scottish wild cat. DNA wo9uld probably work better on the oldest and specimens prior to the 1860s.

This study is interesting but has major flaws in that it appears that no historical documents, papers or books were consulted that might have given a better informed appraisal of the study material. If there is no knowledge of the historical records, of the mass importation of wild cats (and other species found in the UK due to the original animals being killed off by hunting -the red squirrel rather like the Old foxes and wild cats were amongst the species hunting killed off by the 1860s and hares, foxes, wild cats, deer and others were imported so any modern DNA testing will show a match to European species).

Without the basic knowledge that wild cats in the UK survived up until the 1860s because of hybridisation and without Old wild cat specimens the study means nothing. Wild cats from Germany and Portugal are not from the Old isolated British population of wild cats but on a continent where a species can spread out they would mat6cvh up with the European wild cat we see today -again there is no reference to wild cats being trapped and transported to other countries for repopulating or sport and that is very significant information that is needed prior to carrying out a study such as this.

An interesting read but not the claimed breakthrough study as reported online and in the media. We still know nothing of the true British (Scottish, Welsh and English) wild cats

Monday 20 November 2023

Animal activist nearly killed in hunt attack says horror injuries won’t stop him protesting

<p>Paramedics put Mel Broughton on a stretcher to airlift him to hospital</p>

Paramedics put Mel Broughton on a stretcher to airlift him to hospital

An animal-rights activist who suffered life-changing injuries including a split shoulder blade when a hunt member trampled over him with his horse says he has no regrets about trying to stop hunting.

Mel Broughton said he thought he was about to die under the horse, and was left screaming in agony when he suffered six broken ribs, a split in his shoulder blade from top to bottom, three breaks in his collar bone and a tear in one lung.

Paramedics had to give him morphine, and he was airlifted to hospital after the attack in Northamptonshire in 2020, which left him unable to work.

<p>Mardles was jailed for 18 months </p>

Mardles was jailed for 18 months

He had been with three other saboteurs going to monitor the Pytchley with Woodland Hunt when riders and hunt supporters clashed with his group.

Mr Broughton spoke out after Christopher Mardles, 27, from Petworth, West Sussex, a hunt member who rode his horse towards the protesters, was jailed for 18 months on Thursday.

Mardles had admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm during a hearing in March at Nottingham Crown Court. He was found not guilty on a further charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent when prosecutors offered no evidence.

After the sentencing, Mr Broughton, who still has eight screws and a metal plate holding his shoulder together, told The Independent he had no regrets.

“I don’t say that in a way of being very brave or anything, but hunting was supposedly banned in 2004, and all we see week in, week out is the tiny minority of people believe the law doesn’t apply to them and that somehow they have a right to carry on hunting, even though the vast majority of people in the country oppose it.

<p>Members of the Pytchley with Woodland Hunt </p>

Members of the Pytchley with Woodland Hunt

“They act as though they have an intrinsic right to do this. I find it absolutely unacceptable.”

Since hunting was banned, hunts insist they follow a scent trail to stay within the law.

Mr Broughton said that on 5 September 2020 he and fellow protesters in the Sibbertoft area saw riders on horseback and masked supporters on quad bikes.

The saboteurs said that as they were targeted, their three cameras were either smashed or taken from them.

“Chris Marles recognised me – he called me by my name,” Mr Broughton recalls. “We were walking across a field and all of a sudden I turned and the horse hit me full-on.

“I remember going down, I remember the horse hitting me and I was thinking ‘I’m going to die, I’m going to die’.

“The pain was excruciating and I screamed out in agony.

“I couldn’t move. Two colleagues came over but I remember I saw Chris Marles and the hunt riders galloping off. Neither they nor the quad bikers looked back.”

<p>The activist was airlifted to hospital</p>

The activist was airlifted to hospital

The veteran animal-rights campaigner, 63, who has been a hunt saboteur for nearly 40 years, said he still suffers constant pain from his injuries, which also affect his sleep.

But he said he still regularly goes out to try to stop wildlife crime, even though his mother has asked him not to because of the dangers.

Hunters who break the law were making a mockery of democracy, he added. Opponents say “cubbing”, for instance – training young hounds to hunt cubs – is common practice in autumn.

In a victim personal statement to the court, he wrote: “I still keep playing that moment over in my head all the time.

<p>Mel Broughton</p>

Mel Broughton

“I thought I was going to die, I really did. I was out to campaign, but I didn’t ask for that, I didn’t deserve that. I can’t understand that he was so unconcerned that he didn’t even look back.

“I keep seeing that moment and him just galloping on. I was screaming out in pain and they just carried on hunting.”

Lead investigator DC Craig Copeland, of Northamptonshire Police, said: “I welcome the sentence handed out to Mardles today as his reckless actions that day could have had fatal consequences.

“The injuries he left this man with were extensive and he continues on his journey to recovery.”

Saturday 18 November 2023

The Truth About UK Species Eradication -It's Nothing New

 Perthshire Courier - Thursday 18 February 1841

The print from the period is hard to read so...

11       foxes

198    Wild Cats

246    Martin cats

106    Polecats

301    Stots and Weasels

67      Badgers

48      Otters

78      House Cats, going wild

27      White tailed Sea Eagles

15      Golden Eagles

18      Osprey, or Fishing Eagles

98      Blue Hawks, or Peregrine Falcons

11      Hobby Hawks

275    Kites, commonly called salmon-Tailed Gledes

5        Marsh Harriers, or Yellow-Legged Hawks

63      Gos Hawks

285    Common Buzzards

371    Rough-Legged Buzzards

3        Honey Buzzards

462    Kestrels, or Red Hawks

78      Merlin Hawks

83      Hen Harriers, or Ring-tailed Hawks

6        Jer Falcon Tag-feathered Hawks

9        Ash-coloured Hawks or Long Blue-tailed do

1431  Hooded or Carrion Crows

475    Ravens

35      Horned Owls

71     Common Fern Owls

3       Golden Owls

8       Magpies

And this was great work carried out to clear things for grouse hunting. The eradication of one species after another and this was going on in every other hunting territory. Anything not wanted was called by the hunting term “vermin” and killed.

By the 1860s the Old fox types were gone (note only 1 foxes killed on the above list imp[lying they were rare) as were the wild cats -note almost 200 killed on this estate which would have been adults as well as kittens. In fact in accounts from the 1830s it was noted that Golden Eagles were very rare as were wild cats and foxes were getting scarcer and the red squirrel was wiped out -they are not even listed here.

As for domestic cats “gone wild” it needs to be pointed out that there was an “in joke” about how game keepers always had the “best fertiliser” for their fruit and vegetable patches -domestic cats and dogs that wandered within shooting range of a game keeper were shot and disposed of pet dogs wandering a few feet from owners and off-the-lead were openly shot in front of the owners who could do little. So for a bounty on every animal and a race to se who could kill more on every straying pet was money in the pocket.

Despite noting all of the species declining and becoming rarer the ‘sports’ of the day still killed after all they could import more squirrels, more deer, more hares, thousands more foxes and even wild cats so they had a good hunt and shoot.

I would like to write that this was all in the past but it is not. A quarter million badgers slaughtered over fake science as recognised by many and not just in the UK. Red squirrels in commercial forestry are still trapped, snared and shot and hundreds of foxes are shot ‘for fun’ each week across the UK by ‘sportsmen’. Re-introduced birds of prey are still being killed as are hedgehogs in game-bird areas.

Oh, and this is all information from online news sources or sites and the great British ‘animal loving’ public sit back but, just one “lonely sheep” and thousands (undoubtedly many meat eaters) kick up a fuss until something is done.

The UK -The Blood Red Island

Face Book -Time To Stop Supporting Wildlife Killing (even if you are Americans)

  Image from Face Book   Face Book thought that suggesting one of its pages Coyote Hunting would be something I am interested in. Me, a cons...