Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Big Green Bike Ride 2014

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Pic: Friends of the Earth

This year’s Big Green Bike Ride looks like being the biggest ever and it’s such a great way to raise funds for Friends of the Earth.

Overall there will be 120 miles of cycling, but you can pick the challenge that suits you. This year’s ride starts on Saturday, 17 May, and the 85 mile route will take you from the hustle and bustle of London, through the country lanes of Surrey and Hampshire, to the New Forest.

The next day will be a much shorter 35 mile ride, spent exploring the heather-covered heath, farmland, ancient woodland and mudflats of this beautiful corner of the countryside. You can take part in both days or choose just one of these challenges. All riders will receive a goody bag and there will be an evening of food and entertainment in the heart of the New Forest.

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Save Britain’s Barn Owls

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A petition has been launched to save Britain’s Barn Owls, which are dying off in their thousands. The changing climate and a loss in their natural habitat is part of the picture, but these iconic birds are also being killed by powerful rat poisons used on farms across the country.

In 2013 across Britain, the number of Barn Owl nests varied between 45 and 95% lower than normal. Changing climate and habitat loss is part of the picture but Barn Owls are also being killed by powerful rat poisons used on farms across the country. Indeed, the latest scientific research shows that 84% of Britain’s Barn Owls feed on poisoned prey. Some die as a direct result.

The Barn Owl Trust has launched a petition which calls on the Government Minister responsible for the review, Mike Penning, and the Health and Safety Executive to impose stricter controls on these powerful poisons, restricting where and how they are used and throwing a lifeline to our owls.

So please sign to stop the petition and help protect one of the best-loved symbols of Britain’s wildlife.

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Pic: The Barn Owl Trust

Rock star launches badger vaccination appeal

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Pic: The Independent

Brian May has launched a badger vaccination funding appeal  to bolster support for alternatives to the cull.

The Queen guitarist hopes to recruit donors and volunteers for a drive to prove that vaccines are a viable alternative and persuade farmers to adopt the method. He hopes to tap into public disquiet about the cull which saw more than 300,000 sign his Downing Street website petition urging a halt.

More than £200,000 has already been pledged by the guitarist and sponsors such as the Lush cosmetics, and the band Hawkwind –who played a charity concert in aid of animal charities last month – have pledged £10,000.

The aim is to generate enough financial backing and volunteers for large-scale five-year programmes across five of the areas worst hit by TB, which are Somerset and Gloucestershire, where pilot culls have been taking place, as well as Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.

Vaccination costs around £120 per badger, the Badger and Cattle Vaccination Initiative (BACVI) says, with costs reducing as more volunteers are found.

One of the criticisms that has been levelled at those of us who have been trying to save badgers for the last three years is that ‘something has to be done and you are advocating nothing’,” said May.

“Well we are advocating something very, very positive. It seems that what is being done at the moment is actually making things worse. Vaccination is, in the end, the only way of eradicating the disease. We hope all those people genuinely in search of a solution will put aside their differences to support BACVI.”

Giant hedgehog arrives in London

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A giant sculpture of a hedgehog has been installed on London’s Clapham Common to mark the launch of Sir David Attenborough’s new BBC television series Natural Curosities.

The seven-foot-tall sculpture features more than 2,000 wooden spines and fur made of willow and coconut fibbers, and was created by a  team of artists over the course of two months.

Photography awards raise wildlife awareness

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Fox Glance by Samuel Morris

There’s still time to enter the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2014, which aim to raise awareness about British wildlife and celebrate our national heritage.

Winners and commended entrants will have their work showcased in a touring exhibition and stunning book. The awards will be presented by TV presenter Chris Packham, who said: “Anything that raises the public’s awareness of the importance to conserve and protect British wildlife is very close to my heart, and these awards afford a spectacular insight into the habitat and behaviour of our British wildlife.”

Entry is free for young people and the first prize is £5,000. The competition is open until midnight on Saturday, 3 May, and the winners will be announced in September.

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Pic by George Karbus, last year’s overall winner.