RAUK - Archived Forum - Sad stuff folks

This contains the Forum posts up until the end of March, 2011. Posts may be viewed but cannot be edited or replied to - nor can new posts be made. More recent posts can be seen on the new Forum at http://www.herpetofauna.co.uk/forum/

Forum Home

Sad stuff folks:

This is Page 1

Author Message
Alan Hyde
Senior Member
Joined: 17 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 1416


View other posts by Alan Hyde
Posted: 30 Apr 2003

Can anyone tell me how I go about finding out who's responsible for a certain areas heathland management?

I went to Woking Surrey today , not for herping but, to get something for my camera . Well , on the way I passed an old herping haunt of mine at Pirbright . I'm naming the place 'cause this is a story of heathland destruction .

I looked out to my right from the car and saw Bulldozers , diggers , and huge machines that chop and mince up trees (Don't know what they're called ). Instantly I turned round and walked out there . A workman came walking up to me and I said , "Do you mind if I ask what you're doing out here?" He told me they were clearing the trees to allow heather to return .

I asked if he'd seen any snakes , to which he replied "Yeah , a few adders ". I mooched about a bit and found Two dead adders that had obviously been clubbed with something , at which point I noticed the workman were getting suspicious of me , so I lept back into the car.

I'm going to go back on Bank holiday monday for Photographs , as hopefully they won't be out there.

How do I deal with this? Can I do anything about it? They were litteraly just driving their machinery around everywhere with no concerns for the wilflife (If there's any left).

Alan


O-> O+>
GemmaJF
Admin Group
Joined: 25 Jan 2003
No. of posts: 2090


View other posts by GemmaJF
Posted: 30 Apr 2003

Alan, Give me the exact location and local name of the area by email, I'll endeavour to find out who owns and manages the land and who the contractors are, that way we can highlight it on here at least.

It sickens me to hear that any of our herpetofauna should be treated this way, inparticular a protected species.


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
Alan Hyde
Senior Member
Joined: 17 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 1416


View other posts by Alan Hyde
Posted: 30 Apr 2003

Hi , and Thanks for the Support .

I've clicked on your profile , and it reads that your email is Private. Perhaps If you want to e' me then I can reply with the details .

Thanks,

Alan


O-> O+>
Wolfgang Wuster
Senior Member
Joined: 23 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 326


View other posts by Wolfgang Wuster
Posted: 30 Apr 2003
Alan,

The adder is protected from deliberate killing under the Wildlife and Countryside Act! Moreover, anyone working in adder territory has an obligation to take reasonable precautions to avoid killing them - in other words, any adders encountered by them should be either relocated or just left alone.

If these workmen killed them deliberately, then they can be prosecuted (at least in theory...).

I would suggest that you try and get photographic documentation of any dead specimens as well as the general pattern of destruction. You could then forward this information to English Nature and/or the police. Froglife should also be able to give advice on this issue. Also, be sure to get thename of the contractors involved.

If they are deliberately and/or unnecessarily killing adders, then that happens to be offence, and they can and should be prosecuted.

Cheers,

Wolfgang
Wolfgang Wüster
School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor
http://sbsweb.bangor.ac.uk/~bss166/
Alan Hyde
Senior Member
Joined: 17 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 1416


View other posts by Alan Hyde
Posted: 30 Apr 2003

Hi Wolfgang,

Thanks. Yeah , I've decided to go back this evening , as they should've knocked off work and it'll still be light enough to get pics.

This really gave me quite a sick feeling inside , as I was familiar with the area , and knew roughly where animals could be found. The workmen became uneasy as they saw me nosing around , and that's why I decided to leave and return later for pics.

I shall keep everyone updated on this .

Cheers,

Alan


O-> O+>
Mervyn
Admin Group
Joined: 14 Feb 2003
No. of posts: 41


View other posts by Mervyn
Posted: 30 Apr 2003

Alan

Send the info to me and I will pass on to administrator

You could also pass on the evidence to DEFRA


Mervyn J. COTTENDEN, CPA
Alan Hyde
Senior Member
Joined: 17 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 1416


View other posts by Alan Hyde
Posted: 30 Apr 2003

Ok Mervyn, Thanks , will do.

But, can we please keep the brakes on this untill i've been out and taken the photograhic evidence.

Cheers for you help Mervyn , Email on the way shortly.

Alan


O-> O+>
David Bird
Forum Specialist
Joined: 17 Feb 2003
No. of posts: 515


View other posts by David Bird
Posted: 30 Apr 2003
Did it look as though the site was previously solid trees with no heathland habitat underneath or was there heather underneath that could have sustained other reptiles. I am totally against the use of any machinery going anywhere on sites that may have suitable habitat hanging on and the possibility of reptiles on. It does not matter how careful the workers are supposed to be they are sitting high up in a massive machine where 20 cms of heather or even a 50 cm boundary bank means very little, they tend to want to move the quickest way from A to B and do not worry what is in between. When clear felling of forestry plantations is involved I am afraid economic considerations are looked upon as the most important, the price of timber is very low. The excuse one gets if one complains and if it is in the name of conservation rather than commercial forestry is that the end result will far outweigh the few animals that are killed or have their small amount of habitat destroyed. It is far too late in the season to be working on heathland sites for conservation purposes especially with machinery. Hope you have more success than I have had in the past.
British Herpetological Society Librarian and member of B.H.S Conservation Committee. Self employed Herpetological Consultant and Field Worker.
Alan Hyde
Senior Member
Joined: 17 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 1416


View other posts by Alan Hyde
Posted: 30 Apr 2003

Hi David ,

Well , I've just returned from the site , and have taken a few pics which I can post shortly. This area was probably about 75% trees , and yes, there were still quite large areas of heather. The two snakes I mentioned have been moved ,(Just like I thought they would be ) , but there may still be more laying around , and I'll take another look when there is more light .

I just curse myself for not having my camera with me at the time , cause I would've just taken pics there and then and said" F' you" to the workers had they tried to stop me.

Alan


O-> O+>
Alan Hyde
Senior Member
Joined: 17 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 1416


View other posts by Alan Hyde
Posted: 30 Apr 2003

Here is what it looks like now

 


O-> O+>
Alan Hyde
Senior Member
Joined: 17 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 1416


View other posts by Alan Hyde
Posted: 30 Apr 2003

From another angle

I'm sure  that they won't of hidden/ disposed of all the dead creatures , it's just a case of having a good look and taking my time.

 


O-> O+>
David Bird
Forum Specialist
Joined: 17 Feb 2003
No. of posts: 515


View other posts by David Bird
Posted: 30 Apr 2003
Looks a totally trashed site now , what a great shame. I would be interested in hearing if you find out who is responsible and if any action is taken. One must make certain a complaint goes to E.N. headquarters (Jim Foster) as well as the local office. If one does not complain about such work and find out why it has been carried out so insensitively it soon becomes acceptable for such destruction to occur. A lot of people seem to rate how good a habitat is by the diversity of its vegetation, probably because it is easy to do this and in 5 to 8 years time this site may look in good condition, it may even be good for birds and inverts that can fly in. Reptiles, however, may be in very low numbers or absent if the site is surrounded by a band of unfavourable habitat and they have been unable to recolonise. I still feel that reptiles are often neglected and important features such as banks that they require for basking and for hibernacula are trashed without any thought. It is up to interested and concerned people such as members of this site to continually bring this to the attention of people who are in an official position and should have the authority to bring about a change in this situation.
British Herpetological Society Librarian and member of B.H.S Conservation Committee. Self employed Herpetological Consultant and Field Worker.
Alan Hyde
Senior Member
Joined: 17 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 1416


View other posts by Alan Hyde
Posted: 30 Apr 2003

Hi David ,

Yup , looks pretty much trashed like you say. I know this area held quite a few herps as I used to live just round the corner from it.

I very much doubt any reptiles will manage to recolonise as this area has quite a few houses around it . Will probably become a fave spot for dog walkers now , with a web of footpaths . :¼(

Cheers,

Alan


O-> O+>
Gemma Fairchild
Krag Committee
Joined: 14 Feb 2003
No. of posts: 193


View other posts by Gemma Fairchild
Posted: 01 May 2003
Alan sorry about the duff email for administrator, I'll fix it, I thought you would realise it was me! I can be quite persistent at finding these things out, so if  you want Mervyn and I to do some research just let us know. I won't do anything with the information without your say so.
----RAUK e-Forum----

Wolfgang Wuster
Senior Member
Joined: 23 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 326


View other posts by Wolfgang Wuster
Posted: 01 May 2003
Hi Alan,

I just want to second David's comments on this one.

Heather management by excessive cutbacks etc. is all too common. While the intention may be good (restoring heathland), and may well result in some very nice heathland 10 years down the road, the needs for continuity of habitat existence by resident herps are rarely taken into account. One of my favourite sites near Newbury has been comprehensively "managed" in this manner. At Easter, I saw 8 adders in the space of a couple of hours, but all concentrated in the very few acres of mature heather remaining amongst many hectares of cut-back areas sporting no more than a couple of inches of new growth. Something tells me I won't be seeing anywhere near as many adders next year...

Since we were discussing inbreeding depression in another forum earlier, this sort of management is exactly the kind of thing that will lead to population bottlenecks that will reduce genetic diversity within these populations, even if they do recover to a higher level.

Very sad and, given how common it is, very worrying.

Cheers,

Wolfgang
Wolfgang Wüster
School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor
http://sbsweb.bangor.ac.uk/~bss166/
Alan Hyde
Senior Member
Joined: 17 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 1416


View other posts by Alan Hyde
Posted: 01 May 2003

Hi Gemma ,

I did sort of think that Admin was you you , but I didn't want to send the email incase , no worries though

Yes , I'd very much like some research done on this if you don't mind, thanks. I shall still be trying to get pics of deceased animals , and I'm now kicking myself for not just picking them up and taking them with me (Duh!).

One thing though , and you'll have to forgive me here for my ignorance . I'm not new to field herping , but have no idea what all these organisations are , like , the E.N that david mentions, and DEFRA that Mervyn said in his post . It's all foriegn to me I'm affraid

Thanks to everyone for their support on this.

Take care Gemma,

Alan


O-> O+>
Alan Hyde
Senior Member
Joined: 17 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 1416


View other posts by Alan Hyde
Posted: 01 May 2003

Hi Wolfgang , and thanks.  We must have been writing at the same time here.

Yup, I agree , I think the intentions are good , but there is very little chance of recolonisation in this case i fear. I don't think there is going to be many survivors in this case , and the area pictured is surrounded by roads and houses. My main concern was the , what I believe to be deliberate killing of at least 2 berus. Shoulda just picked them up there and then.

Cheers Wolfgang,

Alan


O-> O+>
GemmaJF
Admin Group
Joined: 25 Jan 2003
No. of posts: 2090


View other posts by GemmaJF
Posted: 01 May 2003

Hi Alan,

EN is English Nature, DEFRA, Department of environment food and rural affairs, between them they are responsible for ensuring the Wildlife and Countryside act is adhered to, in this case there is good grounds to suggest it hasn't been.

The idea is given the exact location, we can track back who is responsible for management of the area, if this is then published in this thread, I guess with the number of views it has had already there will be quite a few letters of complaint suggesting more sensitive treatment of herpetofauna by who is responsible in future, directed to the powers that be.


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
Alan Hyde
Senior Member
Joined: 17 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 1416


View other posts by Alan Hyde
Posted: 01 May 2003

Hi Gemma,

Thanks for the info . Did you recieve the map I posted to Mervyn? Do not be decieved into believing there is alot of surrounding heathland. The whole of the Brookwood cemetery site has been bulldozed flat in preparation for a manicured look. And the area just behind the marked site is solid woodland that backs on a railway embankment.

Here is the name of the company carrying out the work -

Homegrown Timber LTD 01293 852700.

Right , i'm orft for a biiiig jug of coffee now , I was twisting and turning , chewing this over in my mind nearly all night

Thanks,

Alan


O-> O+>
Martin
Senior Member
Joined: 23 Feb 2003
No. of posts: 87


View other posts by Martin
Posted: 01 May 2003

Good luck.

(As to the twisting and turning all night you do get used to it - welcome to the club!)

Martin.


- Sad stuff folks

This is Page 1

Content here