Sunday, 22 October 2017

A Secret Lynx...

A Summer's Day on Lake Päijänne Finland (1902)
Thorsten Waenerberg

Yesterday, I heard a story which made my day. For a moment I was taken out of the everyday work routine and transported to a place where nature thrives and whispers secrets best kept. A place, peaceful, where wildlife can freely roam undisturbed. A very rare and possibly 'once-in-a-lifetime' experience happened upon a quiet and gentle soul.  A moment that would have rocked anyone's world.

A work colleague who knows that I have a passion for big cats, especially lynx, told me about a friend of her Mothers, back home in Finland, who is a retired ferry boat driver. He is now the caretaker of a very small island on Lake Päijänne. He resides and works on the tranquil island, enjoying his own quiet wilderness. He encounters many birds and sometimes, otters...apparently they just come up to him and are completely relaxed in his company. He is a kind man and keen to protect his natural, unspoiled surroundings. It seems that the animals know this.

Around three weeks a go, whilst walking in a forested area, he came to an opening and to his amazement and surprise, right in front of him was a lynx. It just looked at him, making eye contact and didn't stir. The lynx showed no fear or aggression. For a while, the two of them were just in the moment. An extraordinary, privileged moment. Then, it turned and disappeared back in to the trees.

 The caretaker was filled with joy at such an intimate sighting. One of the most elusive and secretive cats on the planet had been sharing the island. It must have been there since the last freeze, which would have been the only way the cat could have crossed the lake. Furthermore, it is very likely that on such a small island, the lynx would have been aware of its human neighbour. Perhaps it wanted to reward him with its presence as a show of respect. Like the otters, trusting that all was safe and well. 

It is likely that the lynx had padded through ancient woodland and across frozen lakes, probably in search of a mate, yet happened upon and actually became trapped on the island, which suggests it had been early Spring-time. Naturally, it adapted well, spending the summer months thriving, due to the abundance of prey and of course, its ability to stay a secret.

Earth Island Institute photo of Eurasian Lynx
(Google images 22/10/17)

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Hope's Garden...

A Poem

Taking time in the garden,
Coffee arouses my spirit,
The sun warms my skin. 
The first real breathe of hope,
A breeze moves through the flowers,
The sweetness of nature.
Cats stretch out in the rays,
My thoughts are none.
But the gentleness of the moment,
In the garden.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

March For Foxes...

When I think of foxes I visualise the ethereal animals happily roaming and playing in the forests, grasslands, meadows and rolling green hills. The bushy-tailed animal that should not have a care in the world. The little red fox appears leaping in the snow on Christmas cards and its friendly visits to the garden fill us with delight. We even named a dance after their
nimble-footed trot.They are a part of the British landscape, adding colour, character and beauty to our green and pleasant land. Bringing benefits such as cleaning the environment and restoring a healthy ecosystem. Foxes are apex predators and are essential. They are caring and intelligent animals, especially when with their young. I have heard of a cub getting caught in a trap for two weeks, until finally, found by the RSPCA. The only reason the cub survived, was because its mother brought food to it everyday and stayed close by for protection. They are our natural heritage and need to be protected and preserved.

So, why is it that sixteen percent of the country still insist that fox hunting is acceptable? They say it's for sport and a tradition which should be respected. Sadly, the minority are also the richest and most affluent in the country. The Tory Government is pro-hunting and thinks that they have the right to use our beautiful land as their playground. The likes of Theresa May, et al, want to repeal the ban on fox hunting purely for entertainment, pleasure and profit. In fact, Mrs. May is immorally using hunting as a tool in politics, to win votes, knowing that eighty-four percent of the country are opposed to this brutality. The wealthy minorities are infusing funds in to the Tory government to ensure that fox hunting stays legal. Furthermore, since 2004, the ban has been in place, yet the so-called elite still hunt regardless.....and get away with it!

Professor Andrew Knight, who is standing for the Animal welfare Party, against Theresa May in the constituency of Maidenhead said, "It is profoundly disturbing that the Prime Minister thinks fox hunting is acceptable - we need to have leaders of our country that have basic compassion for animals and other vulnerable members of our society". That said, consider how many psychopaths and serial killers began their journey by dismembering and mutilating innocent animals, and.....getting an adrenaline rush of euphoria.

I believe that those who enjoy hunting foxes are after that same rush. It is a controlling fetish, which instills empowerment in people lacking intelligence, compassion or any thought for wildlife. Killing a fox can have a detrimental effect on the natural environment, not only do foxes suffer, but horses get injured, hounds are shot - when tired, other wild animals such as deer get caught in the flurry of activity.... sometimes, the hounds run off course and attack someone's pet in private gardens or livestock. Recently, three hunting hounds ran on to a busy road and were hit by speeding cars. Such fatalities are merely shrugged off by the likes of Theresa May and her 'small-brained' allies.

The day of the hunt has seen the fox dens blocked off and a gathering of like-minded folk, sipping champagne and embracing a glorious day in the countryside. They gallop across the green landscapes, filling the lungs with fresh air, enough so, to blow their loud horns. They cut through the peace and quiet of nature and bellow out, triumphantly. The horses and hounds are a scene from a bygone age. Then, a little fox, just biding its time, within its territory, hears the oncoming sound and bolts for its den. A safe haven to hide. However, the den is blocked and all the fox can do is run for its life. The sounds of danger get louder and nearer... it runs across meadows, over hedges, through woods and keeps running. Its little heart pumping with fear.. adrenalin of a different kind. It wants to survive and is terrified. Now, lost and confused, out of familiar range, becomes exhausted and cowers, trembling and so horrifically frightened. The hounds catch up and descend upon the little fox. They pull, tug and rip at it. Biting the face, neck and more often than not, disembowelling whilst the fox is still alive. Excruciating pain and suffering caused by a need to be entertained. Only dinosaurs disembowelled their prey, before the kill. 

As previously mentioned, eighty-four percent of the kind-hearted population are against this inhumane, barbaric and insane practise of hunting with dogs (or any hunting, for that matter). I, myself, joined thousands of protesters on May 29th 2017, to march through Central London from Cavendish Square to Whitehall, becoming the voices for the innocent living beings - the largest public protest of the entire general election. The little red foxes - they desperately need us to speak up for them. They need protecting from a dictatorship which has no qualms about inflicting such cruelty on our beautiful wildlife. Animals are not politics and to exploit them for greed and a thrill is utterly shameful. In 2002, Theresa May got it right when she described her party as the nasty party. 

To that end, lets conserve and cherish our green and pleasant land and all who dwell upon it. Long live the fox!

photos - Dominic Dyer as fox (writer, campaign organiser)  Anneka Svenska (wildlife presenter, conservationist)  Dan Richardson (actor,director)  Bill Oddie (tv presenter)

#makehuntinghistory #keeptheban #protest #london #antifoxhunting #voteforfoxes #foxes #thereisnoexcuseforanimalabuse #badgeredtodeath #greenworldtv #angelsfortheinnocent #greenandpleasantland #wildlife #marchforfoxes