Today we’re taking a walk through the clouds to visit one of the most beautiful and biodiverse places on the planet. Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest is in the Tilarán mountain range 5,000ft (1,524m) above sea level. Hundreds of different animal species and thousands of insect and plant species call the forest home. Diligent nature lovers could count nearly 700 types of butterflies and 500 species of orchids during a visit. Famous in the scientific community, the forest also attracts more than 70,000 tourists a year.
You may be wondering, what exactly is a ‘cloud forest?’ They’re forests high enough above sea level to be covered by persistent mist and fog generated by the forest’s own evaporating moisture. This makes for a damp and humid, yet cool environment. Generally tropical, they’re pretty rare. Only 1% of the current global woodland is considered true cloud forest. They are entirely dependent on an area’s local climate, so many of the 736 current ‘cloud forest’ locations are expected to change in the coming years. Monteverde, in fact, is where the first climate-related species extinction was recorded. In the 1980s, the golden toad fell victim to a parasitic fungus that spread into the area due to the changing climate.
On a personal note, I give my full support to Spencer as we have 2 things in common; and that is Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and efforts for helping animals. As a sufferer of MS for 23 years, I know exactly what he is experiencing every moment of every single day.
As Spencer says in the fundraiser:
As anyone with M.S will tell you there are many challenges involved in navigating this condition and we all have our good days and bad days.
But just because you have a long term issue such as MS, it does not mean that you cannot continue to live your life and support vital animal advocate issues the world over; as I am attempting with WAV. AAU in India are doing some incredible rescues as you can see in the links given above; animals that were literally at deaths door have been saved, helped to heal, and returned to full health by the wonderful team at AAU. Supporting AAU is for sure one big thing that Spencer and I have in common.
So please support Spencer today by giving anything you can; here is the link once again:
30/5/22 – A new series of Springwatch starts tonight on the BBC television. Join Chris, Michela and all the team as they bring us the best of UK wildlife.
For overseas visitors – hopefully the links will work and you will be able too see what this few weeks live television is about. Broadcast every night it gives an insight into the many lives of nature with the great footage and filmwork of the BBC.
Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch, sometimes known collectively as The Watches] are annual BBC television series which chart the fortunes of British wildlife during the changing of the seasons in the United Kingdom. The programmes are broadcast live from locations around the country in a primetime evening slot on BBC Two. They require a crew of 100 and over 50 cameras, making them the BBC’s largest British outside broadcast events. Many of the cameras are hidden and operated remotely to record natural behaviour, for example, of birds in their nests and badgers outside their sett.
Springwatch begins on the Spring Bank Holiday and is broadcast four nights each week for three weeks. After the success of the first Springwatch in 2005, the BBC commissioned a one-off special, Autumnwatch, which became a full series in 2006. Winterwatch began in 2012, broadcast in January or February.
London, a sprawling, busy Metropolis like many major cities of the world.
But ignore the busy streets, the bustling crowds, the chaotic tubeways, and take a look into the deeper, more natural abundance of wildlife which adorns and is a major, but often ignored aspect of daily city life.
Pauline has sent yet more super images of the nature of South London and Kent county – Kent – our home county. See the male Robin feeding his female partner; see the urban fox always ready to pick up the leftovers of the vermin human race who cannot bother with litterbins; and see the hedgehogs; which I know are Pauline’s real love and a creature that she devotes a lot of her time to. Don’t they look amazing and so healthy ?
Enjoy the other side of the busy metropolis; the one of nature and all the wonders that it brings.
Regards – Mark and Pauline.
Our home – Kent County; near to London but not that near:
Animal rights activists have been “sprayed with manure” as hordes of angry farmers confront them over a protest at Britain’s largest beef industry event, the campaign group has claimed.
The demonstration, which began in the early hours of Saturday, is said to have seen one protester taken to hospital after chaos unfolded outside Darlington Farmers Auction Mart (DFAM) in Co Durham.
Photos showed mask-clad activists from the Animal Justice Project (AJP) standing on the roof of the building holding banners and spraying coloured smoke flares.
A spokesperson for the group said campaigners have now been left “covered in excrement” after one event attendee allegedly used a sprayer to blast manure at them.
Another activist was injured after farmers allegedly ploughed towards a group of protesters in a JCB digger and “assaulted” them, the AJP claims.
The National Beef Association (NBA), which is organising the expo taking place over the course of this weekend, describes it as a celebration of the best of British beef, drawing in at least 5,000 guests annually.
The AJP has said their protest was “peaceful” and “silent” and aimed to highlight “farmed animal suffering and environmental safety concerns”.
Police have been on the scene since 5am working to bring the demonstration to an end as guests and demonstrators clashed with one another but activists have said they intend to stay indefinitely.
Mark Dent, chair of DFAM, said earlier he believed the protesters were the sources of “intimidation”.
He told the PA news agency: “We respect people’s right to protest, but the way they go about it doesn’t help their cause.
“There is no respect for people’s property or livelihood. I’m afraid then you lose your moral high ground… It’s a tin roof and they’re jumping up and down on it, and it’s bending.
“They’ve got their faces covered. It’s intimidation (and) threatening behaviour. I’m all for people protesting what they believe in, but it’s the way they go about it – the face coverings, the intimidation.”
Callum Muir, 25, of Logan, Ayrshire, used his three dogs, terrier Pip, lurcher Bella and bull lurcher Mig to maul badgers and foxes.
After receiving intelligence that he was involved in this behaviour, Scottish SPCA Inspectors executed a warrant on his house, where they found evidence that Muir was self treating his dogs, who were badly injured.
They also found video evidence of the fights, which show Muir laughing while watching his dogs rip apart a fox.
An undercover cruelty investigator said: “The evidence we found at Muir’s home address was consistent with what you’d typically find when someone is heavily involved in animal fighting.
“All three of his dogs had significant injuries across their faces. Pip and Bella, the two older dogs, had injuries across their neck and legs.
“Both dogs had several missing teeth as a result of the fights they’d been in, and the lack of appropriate veterinary treatment would have made the suffering even worse.”
“Mig had some scarring to her muzzle and legs but as she was a much larger, stronger and younger dog it’s likely she’d been able to avoid serious injury up to this point.”
During the search of the property, several items associated with animal fighting were found, including locator collars which are used to track dogs when they are underground in badger setts.
Officers also discovered nets for catching wild animals when they bolt from their den.
This evidence was analysed at Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture and fox and badger DNA was found.
Muir was sentenced to six months in prison at Ayr Sheriff Court on May 24, and has been banned from owning animals indefinitely.
The inspector added: “In my line of work you see a lot of stomach churning examples of animal cruelty, but the videos and images relating to this case are among the worst I’ve ever seen.”
“The complete disregard for the wellbeing of the dogs and wild animals in the videos is appalling. In many of them, Muir can be heard encouraging his dogs to attack wild animals as they scream in pain. In one clip, he laughs as a fox’s skin is torn away and they are ripped in half by dogs. In another, two of his dogs attack a fox whilst a man stamps on its head as Muir laughs.
“New legislation has now come into effect which means offenders can receive up to five year sentences for animal welfare crimes. We’ve been involved in thousands of criminal cases and this ranks up there as one of the worst.”
Farmers Stab Pregnant Horses With Huge Needles At “Blood Farms.” Iceland Must End This Practice Now!
Click ‘Watch on YouTube’ to see (disturbing) undercover footage:
More than 5,000 horses in Iceland are currently locked in any one of the nation’s 119 “blood farms.” In these facilities, farmers mine live pregnant horses for hormones inside their blood. Handlers extract the mares’ blood during summer months, turn it into powder, then sell and ship it internationally to other farmers. That includes to facilities in Europe and the UK, where farmers use the hormone to force their livestock, such as cows, pigs, and sheep, to reproduce more than is natural. Animals endure all this exploitation just so farmers can enjoy more profits.
One undercover video shows handlers hitting pregnant mares before shoving and imprisoning them inside “restraint boxes.” Once locked in place, handlers then push huge needles into the pregnant horses’ jugular veins — extracting frightening amounts of blood. Farmers in Iceland regularly extract around 4x the maximum amount advised by International standards, taking 5 liters (1.3 gallons) of life-giving liquid from each horse, every week, for 8 weeks in a row. These pregnant animals’ blood is necessary not just for their own survival, but also for providing their foals with vital nutrients. Icelanders are speaking out in opposition to the cruel practice, and the European Parliament is considering a ban on these blood-hormone imports. We must stand with them in order to help these defenseless horses.
A police dog known for having a “larger than life character” has died after chasing down two moped thieves, the Metropolitan Police said.
Six-year-old PD Xavier Charles, better known as “Stanley”, collapsed on Sunday morning while on duty.
The dog, who worked across London as a general purpose and firearms support animal, was described as “one of the very best police dogs” by the force.
The Met Police believe Stanley died from heart failure after collapsing on a job.
Stanley “loved to work”, the force said, and also competed in the national police dog trials in 2019.
In a post on Twitter, a spokesman for the Met Police said: “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share the news of the sudden passing of one of our very own serving dogs whilst on duty.
“Six-year-old PD Xavier Charles, aka ‘Stanley’, was one of the very best police dogs who worked across London as a general purpose and firearms support dog alongside PD Stella, his best friend, & handler Pc Williams.
“A larger than life character, Stan loved to work and amassed over 280 results in his shorter than average career & making it to the national police dog trials in 2019.
“In the early hours of Sunday morning whilst chasing down two moped thieves, Stanley collapsed and sadly passed away, believed of heart failure.
“Whilst this is still very raw, we have been asked to share this sad news to not only remember this wonderful, faithful and loyal friend.”
Intimate With Nature Society (IWNS) was founded in 2001 in Sofia, Bulgaria as an animal advocacy organisation while running campaigns to raise awareness about stray cats and dogs and animals used in entertainment and providing aid for stray animals in need. In the last couple of years IWNS has had two main objectives: control and reduction of stray companion animals’ population, and closure of illegally operating zoos.
Founded in 2021, the Shrimp Welfare Project aims to improve the lives of billions of farmed shrimps in India and Southeast Asia. 350 billion shrimps are farmed each year. This is more than 5x the total number of all farmed land animals put together. Shrimps are highly neglected and many of them suffer from conditions which can and should be addressed, such as: risk of disease, bad water quality, and eyestalk ablation. The Shrimp Welfare Project is the first organisation focusing exclusively on the welfare of these animals.
The UK government has recently (since Brexit and leaving the EU) undertaken a consultation on live animal transport which has been open to the British public and any for / against (live export) organisations wishing to submit comments on the subject of all categories associated with live animal transport (exports). We at WAV took a lot of time (several weeks) with precise submissions and evidence to argue our case on why we considered that long distance live animal transport is unnecessary and should be banned – or at the very most be a one off transport time of 8 hours maximum; which would basically stop all exports from the UK to mainland Europe.
Here is just one short clip of the response start:
Q1: Do you agree that livestock and horse export journeys for slaughter and fattening are unnecessary?
87% of respondents agreed that livestock and horse export journeys for slaughter and fattening are unnecessary. 11%4 disagreed and 2% did not express a definitive opinion. The majority of respondents who agreed that such journeys are unnecessary were members of the general public and animal welfare groups. The main reason respondents gave for agreeing was that they were concerned about welfare standards during the transportation of live animals. Many individual respondents and animal welfare organisations stated that live exports were cruel and degrading to the animals involved.
Great to see such a high figure of 87% of the British people and organisations basically agreed that live animal exports were unnecessary.
The full document which details the summary of responses to every section of the consultation:
Document title – UK Government: Improvements to animal welfare in transport Summary of responses and government response Date: August 2021
In this document – an Introduction by the UK government:
The welfare of all animals, including in transport, is a real priority for both the UK Government and the Welsh Government. The UK Government has a manifesto commitment to end excessively long journeys for slaughter and fattening, which we are taking forward through our Kept Animals Bill.
Now we have left the EU, we have the opportunity to look at alternative methods to better protect animal welfare during transport. The Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC, now known as the Animal Welfare Committee) report in 2019 identified several aspects of transport that have a detrimental effect on animal welfare. They made a series of recommendations to the current regulations on animal welfare during transport. A Welsh Government response to this paper was published in 2020.
Following the findings in this report, we have looked at improvements to animal welfare in transport, including maximum journey times, thermal conditions and ventilation, space and headroom allowances and sea transport.
We have received a wide range of views to our consultation. We have listened to those views, and will continue to work with industry, NGOs and others to identify priorities where the evidence is clear and in other cases to explore some of the issues and evidence together in more detail. I want us to work together to develop practical solutions that generate the good welfare outcomes we all want to see.
This is a big step, but where the evidence is clear we must act. We want to work with industry to co-design solutions to achieve high welfare outcomes and help them make this transition.
The Rt Hon George Eustice MP Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Lesley Griffiths MS Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd
As a result of the consultation, the following statement was issued by the UK government:
Live animal exports
Having considered the evidence available, including responses to this consultation, the government confirms it will proceed with a ban on the export of livestock (cattle, sheep, goats and pigs) and horses from England, Wales and Scotland for slaughter and fattening. Exports for slaughter and fattening from England, Wales and Scotland will be prohibited whether the animals originate from or are travelling through England, Wales and Scotland.
For the purposes of this consultation, exports for fattening were defined as exports where the animal is to be slaughtered within 6 months of arrival. A large proportion of respondents were critical of the proposed definition and considered a time limit to be unenforceable. Having taken account of this feedback, we propose to remove the reference to a 6-month time limit so that the prohibition will apply to all exports of livestock and horses where an animal is exported to the place of destination in order to be fattened for subsequent slaughter.
To further support our (WAV) welfare organisations call for a complete ban on live animal exports; I have decided to include here for you a series of undercover videos which were undertaken in years prior to the consultation relating to live export issues around Europe. I have included journey routes, times and animal species. So here we go:
CIWF live export investigations.
Below are undercover investigations undertaken by CIWF (London).
Video links for each are given; but if you wish to read additional information about the investigations, then head to: