Anti-social behaviour on Nature Reserves during lockdown!

Controlled burns are only carried out in winter, before the bird nesting season.

Controlled burns are only carried out in winter, before the bird nesting season.

Burnt rubbish at Pwll Waun Nature Reserve

Burnt rubbish at Pwll Waun Nature Reserve

While the majority of people respect our precious nature reserves, unfortunately  a minority do not. This can take up a lot of time for our Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW) staff dealing with the consequences of their anti-social behaviour.

This usually involves littering, which before Covid19, was managed with the help of volunteers. With limited people working on reserves we are continuing to do what we can, and liaise with local authorities to dispose of the bags for us. Tents and dens tend to pop up over the warmer months, and range from the innocent bush craft shelter to fully furnished shacks. Despite the current lockdown a fully furnished den was found and dismantled by our Wildlife Trust Officer at one of our Gower reserves.

Signs have also been vandalised recently, possibly due to people disagreeing with notices in relation to Ash Dieback path closures.

Gate theft is also a common problem, and one was recently removed from Pwll Waun Cynon. Unfortunately with the advent of battery powered angle grinders it’s difficult to stop a determined thief!

Despite the Coronavirus lockdown, we are sad to report that four separate burns occurred at our Taf Fechan during the dry period after Easter, these fires swept across the baked dry bracken covered bank. Evidence shows that hot burns late into spring are the most damaging for wildlife. Several days after the burn there was little left, apart from a burnt mouse nest and lots of burnt snails, any burnt animals would have been quickly scavenged by Kites and Corvids. The fire was close to the housing estate and so the Fire service had to attend.

Controlled burns are only carried out in winter, before the bird nesting season, and reptiles come out of hibernation. They would involve many people to help control the burn event.

Please remain vigilant, if you see a burn after 15th March (or 31st March in an upland area), and you can see that it is not being managed, or its after sunset, then it is likely to be an uncontrolled burn.

Please dial 999 and ask for the Fire Service to tell them the location.

WTSWW is a partner in the Healthy Hillsides Project, for more information see www.welshwildlife.org/uncategorized/healthy-hillsides-project/
or contact Conservation Manager Sarah Woodcock (currently on furlough).