Monday, 27 June 2011

Good Lord how time flies, it ages since I wrote, it has been hot as hell for the last two days and very muggy. The mower arrived and Nathan seemed to like it although I have seen him on his old little mower for the last two days, so I am not convinced. We

filmed today, live, for Crimewatch Road-show, which was interesting, but exhausting by the end of the day, not that they stayed long after the end of the show, long enough for us all to have breakfast at 10.00am, but then they all left, but they started at! So that meant an early start to get dogs fed and walked, horse checked, the gates open, the cafe open and the coffee on! So I am running out of steam right now I have to say. The filming went superbly well, Adam did a great job with Harley who was the star - you can see it on BBC I player if you are so inclined. Holly's owl Boom-slang (!) opened the show, and both owls and all humans behaved impeccably. My great staff and volunteers were all in early or on time and we did a good job.

I drove to the RSPB HQ on Thursday for a meeting on the vulture programme, it was good to see and talk to everyone again, and we sorted out a few problems, and better still my Range Rover behaved superbly and got me there and back in record time. I took Henry to Leominster sale on friday and brought him home again, the prices were very poor and he was very upset, he has recovered now!

This piece of news is particularly sad, again you have to wonder at the brainless stupidity of those people who refuse to stop using lead as an ammunition for shooting. Again I would point out to those people that no one is asking you to stop shooting things, just to change your ammunition, you would not think this was rocket science, or particularly difficult. The excuses are: it’s too expensive, well it would get cheaper if you all used it and it’s even more expensive for the poor unfortunate birds that die from consuming lead while clearing up after the shooting fraternity. It will damage my gun – get a new one and hang the expensive one up on a wall so you can admire it. It’s not as lethal as lead – get better at shooting or do the R and D that is required! There are answers to all your excuses chaps, and as for the complete moronic idiots who refuse to believe the OVERWHELMING science that pinpoints lead as a killer of birds who pick it up while feeding, and the overwhelming science that it is actually very bad for humans as well one can only assume that they have already consumed enough lead to make them particularly brainless, there can’t be another reason – can there?!

I guess all this just goes to prove that the hunting fraternity in the US really does not give a damn about conservation, apart from conserving what they hoot, and certainly has no pride in their rare wildlife.

Public asked to help stop lead poisoning as three more condors die

Six California condors were discovered to have toxic levels of lead in their bodies in early May. Three of the birds died of lead poisoning and the other three were successfully treated and released back into the wild. "X-rays showed 18 shotgun pellets in the digestive system of one bird and 6 in another. The third had remains of a spent bullet in its system, all suggesting these scavengers died after eating one or more animal carcasses that had been shot," said Chris Parish, head of The Peregrine Fund's condor recovery program in Arizona.

31 May 11 - Lead continues to hamper condor recovery in Arizona and Utah; 3 condors die

GRAND CANYON, Arizona – Recent episodes of lethal lead poisoning in California condors have biologists asking for more help from the public to conserve endangered condors in northern Arizona and southern Utah.

Tests indicated that a total of six California condors had toxic levels of lead in their bodies in early May. Three of the birds died of lead poisoning. The other three were successfully treated and released back into the wild. Necropsies were conducted by the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research.

“X-rays showed 18 shotgun pellets in the digestive system of one bird and 6 in another. The third had remains of a spent bullet in its system, all suggesting these scavengers died after eating one or more animal carcasses that had been shot,” said Chris Parish, head of The Peregrine Fund’s condor recovery program in Arizona.

Biologists were alerted to the most recent poisoning incident by a Grand Canyon hiker who reported seeing a dead condor. Biologists recovered the bird, an 11-year-old male that had been nesting in the area.

“The loss of this older condor is especially harmful to the recovery of the species because of its potential to add to the population as a breeding bird,” Parish said. “While the Arizona program is experiencing some positive milestones, like the new chick that recently hatched in the wild, the availability of lead to condors continues to hamper the program.”

After receiving the hiker’s report, Peregrine Fund biologists immediately began capturing other condors known to have been in the same area to try to determine the cause of death. Of nearly 30 birds captured and tested, five had toxic blood lead levels that required treatment and two died, in addition to the bird found by the hiker. The other three birds were released back into the wild after chelation treatment, a process used to remove lead from the birds’ systems.

Chronic lead poisoning paralyzes a condor’s digestive system, which leads to starvation, weakness, and death. Acute lead poisoning, typical of high doses, can kill condors more quickly.

“If the hiker hadn’t found the dead bird and reported it, this exposure event might have slipped under our radar and the population could have suffered the loss of even more birds,” Parish said. “Annual exposures tend to follow the big-game hunting seasons, but this episode shows that it can happen anytime. Condors are scavengers and if carcasses or discarded remains are left in the field, they will consume them.”

Since 2005, the Arizona Game and Fish Department has been working with hunters in the condors’ core range of northern Arizona to voluntarily use non-lead ammunition. The effort has resulted in up to 90 percent of hunters taking efforts to reduce the amount of lead available to condors. The department has provided free non-lead ammunition to hunters drawn in affected game management units and also to Navajo animal control officers and the Coconino County Sheriff’s Department.

“Arizona Game and Fish has been encouraged by the support it has received from hunters to use non-lead ammunition in condor range, but we’re asking for anyone who uses a firearm to harvest or dispatch wildlife or domestic animals to use non-lead ammunition or remove the carcasses from the field in condor range,” said Kathy Sullivan, the Game and Fish condor program coordinator.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources began a non-lead program for hunters last year to benefit condors that have expanded their foraging range to Zion National Park and surrounding areas.

When hunters learn that lead ammunition harms wildlife, they often are willing to use non-lead bullets or haul the remains out of the field.

“I am a hunter and until a few years ago I had no idea that lead-based ammunition was harmful,” Parish said. “Now, like many hunters who are aware of the problem, I use non-lead ammo and find that it offers fantastic performance.”

There are now 68 California Condors flying free in the wild in Arizona. Another nine condors are in a holding pen awaiting release within the next few months.

And it is not just the US chaps!!!!

Lead rains down...

A study funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has shown that almost 70% of ducks shot in England are illegally shot with lead ammunition.

Out of 492 ducks bought from game dealers, supermarkets and butchers, 344 contained lead ammunition. This figure is similar to that found in 2002 in a study, showing compliance with the law has not improved over the last eight years. A survey of shooters indicated that most understood the law, but nearly half (45%) admitted to breaking it. The main reasons given for breaking the law were that there was only a small chance of being caught, disbelief lead is a problem, as well as the lack of availability

and cost of lead-free ammunition. The failure to enforce legislation and protect wildfowl in wetlands from lead poisoning would be a big enough concern in itself. But recent evidence has suggested that lead poisoning is a problem away from wetlands, where a wider range of species can suffer from lead poisoning. This includes birds of prey that ingest lead shot (or even bullet fragments) when feeding on shot and non-retrieved game. Of course, it’s not just birds of prey that eat game shot with lead ammunition – people do, too. Fragments of lead ammunition left in food are not necessarily removed by the standard butchering process, and potentially dangerous lead levels can be found in food for human consumption.

The Government has established a Lead Ammunition Group, which includes representatives of shooting bodies, ammunition manufacturers, conservation and welfare groups, to look at all the new evidence and recommend a sensible response. This group will include the poor compliance with existing lead regulations in their discussions and is due to report to Ministers in 2011. See for information.



I have to say that keeping a weblog can at times become compulsive and at other times a chore. Sometimes I am berrated for not keeping it up and sometimes I get wonderful comments from people who follow the news of the Centre.

It is fun to share the daily goings on here, some good and some bad, some funny and some sad, but all a part of our daily lives.
And as I said before its a pretty cool to be here and it is a great place to visit, you should try coming and watching the birds and meeting the staff and of course the dogs.

An interesting video on Lead

An interesting video on Lead

I find it staggering that people who want to hunt don't see the value in changing their ammunition from lead to a safer product. We have stopped using lead in petrol, in paint, in our water pipes, but they still want to use lead - ah well, apparently eating it not only kills birds but leads to reduced intelligence in humans......................

NO ONE is asking you to stop legal and genuine hunting, they are just asking you to change your ammunition!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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