Monday, 30 November 2020

BBC: Brexit: Ministers unveil next steps in England's farming policy



England's countryside will radically change after the Brexit transition period, the government has confirmed.

There will be more trees, meadows and wetlands - and fewer sheep and cows as controversial EU farm subsidies are phased out.

Ministers say it's the most fundamental shift in farm policy for 50 years.

Under the outgoing EU system, farmers got taxpayers' money based on the amount of land they farm. The richer the farmer, the more the grant.

Ministers are designing a new farm subsidy scheme for after the UK stops following the EU's policy when the post-Brexit transition period ends on 31 December.

The new system, named Environmental Land Management (ELM), will pay farmers if they prevent floods, plant woods and help wildlife.

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BBC: Beavers build first Exmoor dam in 400 years


image captionThe beavers were released on to the Holnicote Estate in Exmoor at the end of January

Beavers have built a dam on Exmoor for the first time in more than 400 years.

The rodents were released into the wild in Somerset in January this year as part of a National Trust project to restore streams and reduce flooding.

Beavers became extinct in the UK in the 16th Century due to hunting, but have been successfully reintroduced at a handful of sites in recent years.

The trust said the dam "might look modest, but [it] is incredibly special" and had "created an instant wetland".

Wildlife camera footage shows the beavers gnawing trees and collecting vegetation to build the dam at the Holnicote Estate near Minehead.

Their construction can allow for deep pools of water which offer animals shelter from predators and a place to store food.

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BBC: Why 2020 has been good for England's beavers


image captionThe Eurasian beaver used to be native to England but was hunted to extinction about 400 years ago

A lot has happened in 2020, but one thing that might have been overlooked is the re-emergence of the beaver in England. A five-year government trial into the reintroduction of beavers into the wild ended, citing a long list of benefits, while new beaver homes have been set up in enclosures around the country. What's so good about the beaver - and why isn't everyone a fan?

Beavers have been dubbed the ultimate environmental engineers, capable of alleviating flooding and sparking new life into barren wildernesses. 

They are perhaps most famous for their dams, and it is these that bring the ecological benefits according to the Beaver Trust, a campaign group that wants to see the rodents reintroduced "in the right places" in England.

With their rudder-shaped tails, webbed feet and goggle-like second eyelids, beavers work best in the water and they only really feel safe and secure in depths of at least 1m (3ft).

Read on...

Sunday, 29 November 2020

Uganda Imports Two Tigers from South Africa


“Tigers naturally occur in the wild only in Asia. In Africa, they ... Uganda is home to other big cats including lions, leopards, and cheetahs. “We are yet ...

On the trail of Cornwall's famous farting beavers


They've become renowned for tracking the country's big cat population and there's no doubt, from talking to them of their experiences, that Britain is ...
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