We are thrilled with what we achieved in 2016 and thought we should share a few of the highlights with you, so here they are...
We have continued to monitor the water voles since their reintroduction in 2014 and it's good news! They are doing well and making good use of the extensive networks of ditches and pools that criss-cross the nineteen hectares of reedbed and marshy grassland on their reserve.
State of Nature report:
On the 21st September Wales launched its State of Nature Report 2016 and the result was shocking. Over the last decade 33% of species in Wales that were assessed have continued to decline and 43% are stable or have showed little change in their status (i.e. they are still threatened with extinction). Only 24% have improved in the last ten years!
We discovered that some of the bottlenose dolphins in Cardigan Bay communicate at ultra-sonic frequencies! The research presented the first occurrence of a bottlenose dolphin signature whistle with an ultrasonic fundamental frequency component (>30 kHz), a frequency band that was not thought to be utilised by this species for whistle communication.
During 2016 we gratefully received 3 gifts in wills. Without these we would be unable to carry out the vital conservation work to the extent that we currently do. To find out more about gifts in wills we have received and what we have done with them please visit our legacy page on our website.
The Wildlife Trust in Wales are undergoing the first formal mammal reintroduction in UK history and it will have positive implications for reintroducing beavers to Wales. Scottish Parliament, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform announced that beavers, already living wild in Scotland, would not only be allowed to remain, but be given protected status under the EU Habitats Directive.
Skomer Island as Britain's Favourite Nature Reserve:
For 2016 Skomer Island was voted Britain’s Favourite Nature Reserve in the Landlove magazine awards and The Welsh Wildlife Centre has been nominated for the same award in 2017! Vote for WWC.
We have had eighteen convincing reports of sightings of red squirrels from mid Wales this year and employed a Grey Squirrel Control Officer.
30 Days Wild:
During June we launched The Wildlife Trust’s annual campaign that encourages everyone to get a little bit of nature into their everyday lives; #30DaysWild. We had an overwhelming response from those of you who participated and we are so excited to kickstart next years camping and hopefully get an even bigger participation.
Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM, announced that she has decided to proceed with a new flexible permit scheme for the scallop fishery in Cardigan Bay. Cardigan Bay is protected under law and designated as a Special Area of Conservation because of its internationally important population of Bottlenose dolphins. The sustainability of the other aspects of the site, other than the economics of the fishery, such as the wider marine ecosystem, social and other economic activities that rely on the protected site, have been overlooked.
2016 saw the launch of our Christmas woodland appeal that aims to raise funds for us to continue the vital work we are doing within local woodlands throughout south and west Wales. Find out more about what we are doing in specific counties.
SuDs Rain Garden Project:
A sustainable draining system, or rain garden, was installed at Swansea Vale Resource Centre. The SUDS help prevent flooding and pollution in our rivers, it contains wildlife friendly plants as well as a water source and it is also a place where New Horizons, an organisation for people with disabilities who use the centre, can relax and unwind.
WTSWW attended Cardiff’s Royal Horticultural Society show in 2016 and our show garden was marine themed to raise awareness of CBMWC’s 20 years of marine conservation. We will also be having a show garden at Cardiff’s RHS in 2017 and the theme next year will be wild woodlands.
Marsh Fritillary Butterfly in the Rhondda are declining and WTSWW tried to undergo a reintroduction project. However, we were unable to obtain a license ... Yet.
Otters in Pembrokeshire:
The recent installation of an artificial otter holt in April 2016 at The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales’ Pembroke Upper Mill Pond nature reserve has already got tenants. Signs of adult otters have been found and we have all our fingers crossed for some pups in 2017!
Parc Slip Nature Reserve has been undergoing a project to make the habitat safer for Lapwing, a farmland bird in decline. Early 2017 will see the installation of a new Lapwing raft on one of the ponds which will provide the birds with a safer breeding ground.
Wild Woodlands Project:
WTSWW’s WGWW Project (West Glamorgan’s Wild Woodlands Project) is focusing on restoring woodland and wild spaces. This on-going project has, and will continue to work on 12 woodlands across Swansea, including parts of the Gower, and Neath Port Talbot area. The project is funded by WREN, a not for profit business that awards grants to community projects from funds donated by FCC Environment to the Landfill Communities Fund.
Dormice have been confirmed at our Carmel nature reserve in Carmarthenshire as well as on Cwm Clettwr nature reserve in Ceredigion. In October this year Em foot, WTSWW’s Wildlife Trust Officer recorded a record count of 28 animals in one day’s check of the boxes at Cwm Clettwr!
National Marine Week:
During this years national marine week we manage to witness behaviour that is rarely seen from Bottlenose Dolphins. While out on the boat one day our Living Seas Officer, Sarah Perry, spotted some dolphins attacking a young porpoise. We also recorded the sighting of a basking shark off the coast of Skokholm Island during National Marine Week 2016.
Skok Petrel Station:
The wardens on Skokholm Island have recently built an artificial Storm Petrel wall in order to further support and study the Storm Petrel population on the island. Time will tell if the wall will be successfully occupied by Storm Petrels.
CBMWC 20 year anniversary and WRA:
2016 saw the 20 year anniversary of WTSWW’s Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre. To celebrate this and raise awareness of the fantastic work they are doing we held a world record attempt. We aimed to get as many people as possible in the shape of a dolphin on New Quay’s Main Beach. We had a record breaking 354 people!
Healthy Hillsides Project and Awards - Argocat:
WTSWW partnered up with local organisations and South Wales Fire and Rescue to support local wildlife and reduce wild fires. Rowan working horses were also called in and South Wales Fire and Rescue kindly donated WTSWW an all terrain Argot vehicle.
To help us continue our vital conservation work in 2017 why not become a member.