Blog posts by year and month October 2009

Posts (81)

  1. Not Wales nature related as sadly we don't see them off our coastline but interesting nevertheless. Sad to see such a magnificent creature killed by a ship but it does give scientists a unique opportunity to study it. This individual is thought to weigh more than 50 tons! http://www.wildlifeextra.com

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  2. I'm looking forward this week to talking on Thursday's Radio Wales Arts Show to art historian Ceri Thomas about the work of the Glynneath artist Ken Elias. As well as being a practising artist Ceri is an expert on the subject of Wales' visual culture since 1945 and the book he's edited on Elias' art is out to coincide with a major retrospective exhibition at the National Library in Aberystwyth.

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  3. Righto, there's a little festival happening this weekend, called Swn - more about that in previous blogs here and here, but I promised an alternative guide to Cardiff, just in case any of you reading might be visiting the city for the first, second, or third time - there's nothing beats local kn...

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  4. With few exceptions, every piece that gets written about culture in north east Wales begins by saying there isn't all that much of it, really; as if culture comes in measurable and readily identifiable units rubber-stamped by philosophical bureaucrats in Brussels. If you measure culture in term...

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  5. Look away now if you're squeamish - this is the stuff of nightmares and wouldn't look out of place in a Ridley Scott 'Alien' movie. Image via www.clevercherry.com "The sea-dwelling parasite attacks fish, burrows into it, and then devours its tongue. After eating the tongue, the parasite proce...

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  6. There are only four days to go until this year's Swn Festival lavishes Cardiff with multitudinous gifts of musical ace.

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  7. The first single from Lostrophets' fourth album, It's Not The End Of The World (But I Can See It From Here) has entered the charts at number 16. You can listen to an excerpt of the track and don't forget to leave your comments about what you think of the single - are you looking forward to the album?

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  8. Recent news from the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales: "Elin Jones Rural Affairs Minister has announced that the Tuberculosis Eradication (Wales) Order 2009 under the Animal Health Act 1981 would come into force on 21st October, and that the only procedure that would stop it was a 40-day period in which Assembly Members could propose a motion that the Order be annulled". "On 14th October, two Assembly members Peter Black (Lib Dem) and Lorraine Barratt (Labour) proposed a motion to annul the Order which will be debated shortly". For those interested, the Badger Trust have produced a document setting out their argument against the culling of badgers and argues that it is actually modern methods of farming - large herd sizes and stock movements that have led to a rise in bovine TB cases here in Wales. Similar experimental culls in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have had mixed results. Apparently Northern Ireland had a similar rate of bovine TB to Wales just four years ago but have virtually halved it without killing a single badger. Meanwhile in the Republic of Ireland, where they've been culling thousands of badgers - bovine TB is still a real problem. The Farmers Union Of Wales point out that there is actually very little difference between NI and Wales' bovine TB policies regarding cattle. They point to the Royal Society 2008 findings which analysed cattle movement data in order to study the spread of TB in Great Britain. The studies indicated that cattle movements are likely to be responsible for just 16% of herd outbreaks and concluded that "High-risk spread is probably the result of cattle/badger/BTB interaction". Read the FUW Bovine and TB factsheet. The Welsh Assembly considered 3 options - a non selective badger cull, vaccination of badgers or a combined strategy but opted for the cull as it was considered the best way to reduce bovine TB. Dealing with badgers is one element of the Welsh Assembly Government's programme to eradicate bovine TB. They have also intensified their cattle testing regime, are consulting on legislation on tightening up pre-movement testing and implementing additional cattle measures in the area where the cull would take place (if it happens). This option is currently under consideration from the Rural Affairs Minister and a decision will be made shortly. Read about what the Welsh Assembly Government is doing to tackle TB in cattle. So are badgers responsible for bovine TB? Scientists do now agree that badgers carry the disease but how much of it is transferred from badger to cattle and cattle to cattle and how best to combat the spread is still to be agreed upon. Visit the links below and make up your own minds. I'd love to hear your comments - for or against, on this contentious issue. Powers sought for badger cull - BBC News Online Welsh Assembly Government - Bovine TB FUW - Badgers and Bovine TB Badgers Trust Cymru

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  9. The topic of grey squirrel culling seems to be something of a hot potato lately... Love them or hate them, this problem isn't going to go away any time soon. Greys are currently wiping out our native species of red squirrels but at what point do we intervene or do we just let nature take it's course? A red squirrel, blissfully unaware of its impending doom. Red Squirrel image courtesy of Alan Burfitt. Not only are greys eating the precious food sources of reds and taking over their habitats, they are also destroying native wildlife - eating birds eggs, robbing feeders and generally breeding like rabbits. If all this wasn't enough - they also carry a virus fatal to reds which gives them a rather slow, horrible death. It would appear as if the odds were firmly stacked in favour of the greys. Natural selection perhaps? Has the species merely evolved? Should we intervene? Celebrity chefs have done their bit over the years and every now and again we're encouraged to try cooking squirrel meat (greys not reds in case you're thinking about it!) and informed that its a very low fat, tasty alternative...to what I'm not sure? But I bet it tastes like frogs legs... A grey squirrel planning world domination: Radio Wales have an item on red squirrels on Monday, 19 October from 9am -12pm on the Jamie & Louise show. Have a read of this article in the Guardian online. So should we be actively culling greys or do we opt for establishing 'safe havens' and buffer zones such as Anglesey for red squirrels where trapping has already had a profound effect on the greys population? It's thought that greys will have disappeared from Anglesey within two years... I have to say, when you see a young grey squirrel running across your lawn playing with a prickly horse chestnut in its paws, it's hard to imagine having to 'despatch it' in the name of conservation but if we don't, what's the alternative? I was lucky enough to visit the Galapagos Islands a couple of years ago but there the problem wasn't squirrels - it was goats and rats. Bird and tortoise populations were being decimated on some of the more remote islands so something had to be done quickly to save species from certain extinction. This was a man made problem and for once it was up to man to clear up his own mess. The answer was a brutal one - total extermination using traps and guns and by any other means necessary. I've a feeling they used traps on the rats rather than the rifles though... Helicopters flew over the islands, carrying snipers armed with high powered rifles. The goats didn't stand a chance but the tortoise's food supplies (basically anything green) were made safe - species saved. So what do you think we should do - Are you in favour of a cull? Gull Treat yourself to some squirrel videos Read about the squirrel pox on Guardian.co.uk

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  10. Good news! We're in for a nice sunny spell this weekend. A cold Arctic front is pushing in, bringing dry and settled weather this weekend so expect plenty of sunshine and overnight frosts. It should be great walking weather so get out there and enjoy the autumn colours. Berries at Llyn Alwen ...

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