Renowned journalist reviews a weekend with us in Dorset……………

By Peter Lynch
Author of ‘Wildlife & Conservation Volunteering – The Complete Guide’, published by Bradt.

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There’s no reason why a holiday shouldn’t be about self-indulgence but they can also be meaningful. Volunteering holidays are also on the increase – doing something consequential and worthwhile instead of just ‘me’ centred? Maybe helping endangered wild animals or doing something that helps reduce our destructive impact on the planet?

For years I have been hooked on ‘hands-on’ volunteer wildlife holidays, which are so much more interesting than being carted around on a safari tour bus, all too often looking at morose, semi-wild animals in a game park.

These types of holiday in exotic destinations, where you’re personally and practically involved, are exciting, enjoyable and inspirational, but they can be pretty expensive and may not suit everyone.

When returning from an overseas trip, full of eco-enthusiasm, I’ve always been disappointed to find so little support for similar activities in the UK – even though we’ve wiped out proportionately more of our native species than most of the underdeveloped countries we’re trying to help!

So I am excited to find that at last someone has realised that there’s as much need for wildlife and landscape conservation volunteering in the UK as there is in far flung countries. Continue reading

Hedgehog footprints!

HedgehogWild Days’ home-town has just been declared Britain’s first ‘Hedgehog Town’! We went along to an event celebrating this to find out more and met some wonderfully enthusiastic people from the Dorset Mammal Group. We didn’t see any hedgehogs though – thankfully the group knew they were nocturnal, and that it’s best not to disturb them. Continue reading

The grey squirrel – our most seen and controversial garden visitor

The latest results from the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, their yearly ‘what’s in your garden’ survey, show that nearly three-quarters (72%) of people in the UK see the grey squirrel in their gardens at least once a month and 91% had seen them at one time.  This makes them the most commonly seen mammal in this country, an interesting position for a species that has only lived here for the last 150 years at most. Continue reading

First Out of the Mammal Traps

We’ve been having fun testing new species of live mammal traps this week. These traps are all designed for trapping of small mammal species, primarily mice and voles, and allow us to assess local populations and individuals before releasing the animals, well fed and unharmed, back into their natural environments.

Traps, bedding, food.

Traps, bedding, food.

The Longworth trap, with its reliable and effective aluminium construction has long been the undisputed standard for small mammal survey, but there are several other types available. Continue reading