NEED WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT IN KENT?
When pest control is mentioned, we think of squirrels in attics, rats in the cellar and moles digging up the lawn; we may also think about the creepy-crawlies that mysteriously find their way in to our homes and businesses too. What we rarely associate with pest control is wildlife management.
But, pest control is an important cog in the wheel of balancing the needs of people and wildlife, using scientific and humane control methods. In fact, along with pest control, game keeping and wildlife conversation are the other methods of how wild animals and birds are kept in balance…
- Wild life conservation concerns looking after the biodiversity, ensuring that all the insects, animals and birds needed for the planet’s eco system to remain in balance are in sufficient numbers for this to happen.
- Game keeping is about the management and control of wild life for the well-being of game; this may involve the killing of animals or birds that share the same predator or niche within the woodland etc. Although this sounds violent and unpleasant, like all aspects of wildlife management, when done correctly, it is a much-needed activity to maintain not only the beauty of the countryside, but its functionality too.
- Pest control in terms of wild life management is about dealing with animals, birds and insects who becomes ‘pests’ or a nuisance to other wild life, farmers, game keepers and the like. For many customers seeking to maintain the balance of the surrounding countryside and urban landscape, pest control technicians will be the people that they turn to.
Regulated and controlled
There are many bodies and organisations in the UK that oversee various aspects of wildlife management; they work under a variety of rules and regulations, as well as laws that governing the culling of certain animals.
In terms of hunting, there are various Game Laws that dictate when an animal can be killed or culled, along with regulation of hunting seasons, such as, which animal or bird can be hunted and when. As a rule, the mating and breeding season is avoided so that the numbers of animals and birds remain at a static levels; allowing too many of one kind of animal or bird to dominate an area can lead to damage, and other animals or birds being forced from the area.
Pest control companies and technicians are also regulated and governed by a variety of laws, the main stay of which is the Pests Act 1954. This law determines what constitutes a pest, and also how these insects, animals and birds are to be dealt with. It also encapsulates the ‘rabbit clearance order’ across England and Wales (with only the City of London, the Isles of Scilly and Skokholm Island being exempt) which places ‘reasonable measures’ on landowners to keep wild rabbits on their land under control.
Wilde life in Kent – what are the main issues?
The culling and hunting of wild animals and birds in any part of the country will often excite strong views from people. The debate over fox hunting, for example, across the countryside raises strong emotions, as does proposed culling of badgers, known to carry bovine TB, as well as the culling of many other animals, such as rabbits. However, Kent, unlike other areas in the UK, also has the wild boar population to maintain.
Wildlife management takes two forms;
- Manipulative management is where the population is manipulated but directly influencing food supply, habitat, introduction of predators or the prevalence of disease. The introduction of myxamotosis in to the country some 50 years ago and decimated the wild rabbit population; to a certain extent, this success is tempered by the suffering that these rabbits suffered pre-death. Use or introduction of diseases is no longer seen as apt measures of control.
- Custodial management is about prevention and protection. In other words, the animal or bird under threat is taken into ‘safe custody’, so that population numbers are protected from dying out completely. Better known as conservation, there are many examples of animals around the world becoming protected in order to save the species.
Wild life that needs controlling…
There are many examples of wild animals that need controlling in order for the balance of nature to remain in harmony.
- The Wild Boar
In Kent, the wild boar raising some interesting economic and social issues.
Secretive, shy and nocturnal, no one can predict, with any degree of accuracy how many wild boar roam the countryside; some estimates suggest only a handful and yet others approximate the population to be 400 boars or more. Many people saw the introduction of wild boar as invasive and unnecessary (the current wild boar population are ancestors of escaped boars from farms, and were not introduced as such back in the UK!) but, it has since been proved that their introduction has increased bio-diversity within woodland.
However, as with all wild animals, boar can be destructive and damaging in their nocturnal activities; trampling crops, dodging fencing and the like to gain access to land and crops, boars are also famed for their ability to smell a ‘pig in heat’ from many miles away.
Free living wild boar in the UK are not a protected species and landowners, if they feel they need to in order to protect crops and livestock, can kill the animal, providing they stay within legal means (not causing unnecessary suffering).
- The Deer
Another example of an animal that often incites tension between how people see them is the deer. In the UK, there are 6 species of deer, totalling a population of around 1 million. Attractive, gentle looking animals, deer herds will need culling if their numbers become too large for the local habitat to maintain them.
Deer can also cause a huge amount of damage to woodland and crops, as they eat young shoots and leaves etc. Many people do not realise that too many deer in a herd can also have a detrimental effect on deer health.
- Rabbits, moles, foxes and badgers
These 4 animals are also considered wild with their population needing to be controlled or culled from time to time. Pest controllers have an array of methods and treatments that they can use to prevent damage from wild animals such as rabbits, foxes, moles and badgers…
- Preventative measures include investing in ‘proofing’ in the form of fencing – unlike other fencing, this is dug in to the ground as well as forming a high barrier over which the animals cannot cross of jump
- Culling or eradication – when the population is such that it is simply too much for the local area to support, pests can encroach on land planted with crops etc. Tunnelling pests, such as rabbits and moles, can also make the ground unstable.
In such cases, the only real answer lays in the culling or eradication of the pest from the area. Again, using a pest control technician to deal with the issue ensures that all laws, rules and regulations are followed. It also guarantees that the culling of animals is carried out humanely, and discreetly.
A passionate debate
Although many people see wild life as essential to the bio diversity of an area, it needs to be balanced with the economic and social needs of the human population too;
For example, deer population that is too big for the woodland to support will essentially mean that they encroach on farming land; decimating crops has huge economic implications for both the farmer and the consumer.
Harmony in wild life is important and this can be maintained and regulated with carefully planned, and well executed humane management plan.
Do you have issues with foxes, rabbits, deer, boar, moles or any other kind of wild animal in Kent? If you do, call us for a free assessment on how the problem can be managed and controlled, restoring harmony to the local countryside.