Sunday, 13 April 2014

A Royal Pardon for the Badger.

This week we have seen the weather return to something resembling normality, sunshine and the nights creeping out further and further into the fullness of springtime. 
We are into the second week of the trout fishing season and the river meadows are full of lush grass giving off the most fantastic heart stopping emerald green beauty that you only do really see in April.  Blossom in the hedgerows, birds’ busy nest building and rearing their young, it is truly a magical time.  New life and new beginnings. 
We have got quite a few nest boxes around the house and in the garden but an amusing incident my wife noticed this week on how a very disgruntled Blue Tit was getting more and more agitated by the visits of the postman.  On closer inspection of Jackie’s concerns we found that the Blue Tit in question was nesting in the post box and was seemingly getting thoroughly cheesed off with the bombardment of mail, mostly junk that was coming their way and disturbing them almost on a daily basis.  Without wasting any more time and to try to gain parity of the situation my wife decided to make a sign for the post box saying quite simply, “Blue Tit in residence, please put mail in the bag by the side of, thank you.”  Ingenious, I thought. 
The fly fishing season started on April 1st and finishes September 31st. The excitement of the start of each season is as great now as it was when I was a ten year old.  Then, the only excitement that could compare to a day’s fishing was when I rolled up my sleeve and delved my arm into a barrel of sawdust for the annual village fete, Lucky Dip.  I just didn’t know what exciting gem or dull, boring object I was going to draw for myself.  As much like fishing then as it would be today for each visit to the river I never know what bounties I am going to extract from it.  The uppermost constant is, a day’s fishing which is filled with a beauty and the overriding irresistability of being out and about amongst nature at her most prolific time of the year.  Skylarks that high up in the sky you cannot see them but their song from the heavens can melt away almost all of your day to day problems.  The Lapwings, Plovers, Peewits, whatever you like to call them show off so flamboyantly in their aerial court ship displays and so nonchalantly disguise pathways back to their secret ground nests in the hope that their feigning of injury will throw their predators off track away from their eggs and young. 
The Moorhens, the Swans, the Ducks and the Kingfishers, all busy, busy, restocking their countryside with their regeneration of young to keep the countryside as full and as wholesome tomorrow as we all see it today. 
As I sit on the bank of the river listening to the flow of water race over a few boulders on its way to a lazy meandering bend I see a Heron stood on one leg just past the bend, almost in a trance waiting, for that one fish.  It is noticeable how the Heron fishes where the water is slow rather than trying to fish where the water babbles along at speed.  As I watch, I think of the Badger cull that is going to once again wreak havoc in parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset and would like our own Owen Paterson, our Environment Minister and DEfRA to be a little more like the Heron, to make policies and determine their course of actions in quieter waters than make ill judged, adhoc judgements in the rapids.
The future, having seen and listened to the evidence on combatting Bovine TB is with vaccination. 
I was somewhat saddened and disappointed to hear our Princess Royal’s views as she described to BBC Country File that in her opinion gassing is the most humane way to exterminate Badgers that could be a threat to a cattle herd.  In reality, the most humane way of dealing with Badgers and cattle alike is vaccination.  Of course, this requires a lot more nouse and by its sheer nature, more forward thinking, but anything to spare us all, not least the Badger from the atrocities that were unleashed upon him in 2013 can only be of benefit to nature and conservation and the whole countryside in general. 
Prince Charles has done an awful lot for nature and conservation over the whole of my lifetime and without doubt is a great ambassador for nature, and not just this country’s conservation but the world conservation. I feel sure that the Princess Royal too shares a lot of his views.  I doubt very much that the Princess Royal will ever read anything of the nature that I write about, however, I humbly beseech the Princess Royal on behalf of the British Badger to grant the ‘Hard Man of the Woodlands’ a Royal Pardon, for we, as a nation, simply do not possess the beauty in such numbers as we can afford to shoot, snare, poison or even gas one more solitary soul of them.
Watch my short film of a Badger out for an early evening stroll.

 Daddy Cool out for an early evening stroll

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