News & Events 12 - 19 July

Red squirrels may be dying from human kindness, Fantastic Mrs Fox learns sign language and a potential ban on imports of cloned US meat. Plus the latest country events near you.




Scientists map UK's urban forest
Scientists form the Natural History Museum in London are asking Britons to complete a new urban tree survey to discover the diversity of urban trees in parks, streets and gardens. Scientists are aiming to increase their understanding of changing tree populations over time in response to urban planning and gardening and how climate fluctuations affect flowering and fruiting times. Nature lovers should visit and record the different tree types in their area.

Killing with kindness? Red squirrels may be dying from human bacteria

Bacteria found on human skin has been discovered in a number of dead red squirrels showing lesions and infections. Scientists are considering the possibility animal lovers are unwittingly causing the animals’ death, by feeding the squirrels and transferring the bacteria. Scientists are investigating whether the bacteria is the predominant cause of death, according to a paper in the Veterinary Record.  


Birds prepare for war through preening rituals 

Research from the University of Bristol this week has shown birds display increased bonding behaviour on the cusp of potential battles. Dr Andy Redford studied a group of green woodhoopoes, a forest dwelling bird found in South Africa. He found members of the group were more likely to preen others when clashes with other groups were likely – providing interesting evidence in a little-known field.   


Vixen learns sign language 

Life in north Devon was bleak for Millie, when chased by a group of boys she became injured and subsequently deaf. Rescued by Hartland Wildlife Rescue Centre, she now enjoys a new lease of life – through communicating with manager Bethany Tyler-King, who is also deaf. Millie responds to hand signals and has become best friends with Angel the cat – more on the BBC website 


EURO-MPs call for a ban on US meat imports following cloning scare 

The Farmer’s Guardian has reported the ban on US meat and semen is being called for as animal cloning is widespread and unregulated in the US – meaning such imports could be from first generation cloned animals. Currently, the EU annually imports nearly £2billion of bovine meat and £30million of semen. Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson said such a ban could trigger a trade war. 


New technology sheds light on puffin feeding habits 

Scientists were pleased to discover previously unknown feeding patterns of puffins following a decline of the seabird in 2008. By tagging members of England’s largest puffin colony on the Farne Islands with GPS devices, the birds were found to forage in different area than originally thought. Scientist Richard Bevan from Newcastle University, who lead the project, told the BBC the research would ensure a more secure future for the birds.



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Kent County Show

Near Maidstone, Kent, 16, 17, 18 July

Kent County Show, the largest event in the county, will include show jumping, a grand parade of livestock, a motorcycle display team, hound pens, gun dogs, birds of prey and terrier racing.

Admission is £17 for adults, £7.50 for children, £12 for OAPs and £43 for a family ticket.   


A taste of the North Pennines

Allen Mill, near Catton, Northumberland, 18 July 10.30am - 3pm 

This brand new farmers market is opening on Sunday with a range of local produce including rare breed meats, chocolates, cupcakes, Cumberland mustard and local bakeries and breweries.  

Those interested in selling produce at the market should email


Great Yorkshire Show

Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate 13 – 15 July 

The 152nd year for this premier agricultural show will see more than 8,000 animals competing and is set to showcase a new look garden show, top class show jumping, a food hall with regional food and drink, dance and ballet workshops. HRH The Princess Royal is due to visit the show today and other guests will include Ainsley Harriot and Defra Minister Caroline Spelman. 


Help a Ranger on Exmoor National Park

Exmoor National Park, 18 July 

Help an Exmoor National Park Ranger carry out his daily practical conservation work as part of a program of summer events in the National Park.  

For more information call Patrick on 07973 727 469.  

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