Keith Arthur: What next in the name of conservation?

Once again we have some ‘conservation’ do-gooders wanting to restore creatures that naturally disappeared from our land (it’s called ‘survival of the fittest’ = evolution!) centuries ago. This time it’s fish eagles.

I doubt that they have that name because they eat cheese sandwiches but even if they never eat fish, we don’t want or need them, thanks very much. They will impact on the native wildlife, including birds, and this is another one that must go on the Angling Trust list to campaign against.

There is a huge difference between conservation and restoration. As I’ve said recently I expect there would be a chance in the not-too-distant future of cloning creatures that lived here before man ¬ dinosaurs, sabre-tooth-tigers and the like ¬ and sending them forth into the countryside. The fact is that creatures die out and, for whatever reason, they are unlikely to re-establish long-term.

Take it from me, in 25 years’ time there will be another ‘otter crisis’ because many areas of countryside where they have been introduced simply won’t have been able to support them. We know that because history tells usŠit’s happened before!

Some creatures, red kites and wild boar, for instance, have established colonies and are doing well. No drive along the M40 is complete without seeing a line of the magnificent kites hanging like Chinese decorations along the hard shoulder. They are where they are because motorways provide the perfect habitat for what they feed on and the many vehicles save them the trouble of catching and killing it.

Wild boar are making a living in some areas because we don’t eat wild boar any more. The famous Derbyshire wallabies make a living too, but neither of those species are predators ¬ even the red kite is more scavenger than hunter.

Foxes have had to move into towns to live. I see plenty every day here but rarely spot one in the real countryside.

Otters, beavers and sea eagles being introduced to the wild, into a habitat that is so degraded and where their actions will adversely effect current animals, is nothing short of cruelty.