Over the past few days there have been two big nature stories both concerning species beginning with the letter B. One is a story of hope and the other not so much....
Defra have anounced plans to reduce buzzards numbers for the protection of pheasant numbers. This will be done by taking adult birds into captivity and destroying nests at a cost of £375,000.
The native buzzards are currently protected under wildlife laws because their numbers had been very low. But thanks to the hard work of conservationists and these legal measures their numbers have risen in recent years. In fact, buzzards are of one of the few birds of prey that lots of people tell me they like. So many people are shocked and angered that after all this hard work their numbers may be reduced to protect a non-native, captively bred and then released birds. especially since the phesants are being breleased for shooting anyway, so if they don't die and become a meal for buzzards they will probably die and be a meal for humans anyway.
This worrying turn in government policies raises yet more questions about how wildlife friendly and sustainable the governmetn really is. And at a time of massive financial difficulty, is spending almost £400,000 to protect phesant shoots a good use of the money?
Today was the first reintroduction of the Short-haired bumble bee back into the UK after becoming extinct in 1984. Previously widespread across the south of England this native bee's only stronghold is now a small area in Sweeden. With the release of about 100 queens to an area close to the RSPB's Dungeness reserve it is hoped that southern fields will be full of buzzing again. This project highlights the importance of partnerships within conservation. Whether it's teh different NGOs such as the RSPB, Natural England and others or the work of landowners and farmers in the area who ahev created huge areas of wildflowers which will encourage and support the new visitors. Hopefully a very big sucess story in years to come.
So there we have it. One native species back from teh brink of extinction being threatened again and another returning after a 27 year gap. Let hope that when the Short-haired bumble bee is at full strength again in the UK the government wont decide there are too many and cut it back again.