In Surrey They Do It With Deer!
Trying to understand Sheffield Wildlife Trust's approach to managing Blacka Moor is comparable with trying to get your head round what the banks have been doing to get the economy into the mess it's in. Their grazing policy is about as comprehensible as financial derivatives. They have said they must graze cattle on the heathland but have not actually done so. If they did, it would make even more mess than it did when they tried it before in summer. They have told people that cattle are coming on in winter yet their management plan says that it will be in summer. They have given three quite different explanations of why cattle were not on the heathland in summer this year. When people contradict themselves as often and as obviously as this you have to conclude they don't want you to know the truth and/or they don't know it themselves. And all the time they have no real strategy for marrying the wilder landcsape of Blacka Moor with their farm style management with domestic cattle, for which also they have no viewpoint that they could defend because there is no philosophy behind their planning. It's all about as thought-through as a hole in the road. Meanwhile deer are quietly doing what deer do - puzzlingly just what SWT and their supporters told us that the cattle were going to do. Yet the deer have never been part of the wildlife trust's calculations. Can we take these people seriously?
Readers may like to know that there is more than one SWT. Surrey Wildlife Trust are also involved in managing heathland in collaboration with NE and the military at Pirbright. So are they using cattle and sheep? No they are using red deer, specially imported. Their website tells it all here. Yet on Blacka the Sheffield Wildlife Trust is persisting with cattle when they already have deer on site naturally!! One wonders if there is any hope that this organisation can ever develop a coherent approach to anything.
The picture above is taken from this page on Natural England's website. What an abomination to eartag these animals! Somehow to do so with multi-coloured tags shows just how philistine the conservation industry has become. I'm now wondering if the Eastern Moors Partnership will do something similar with the wild red deer we have around here. It illustrates the culture that has grown up in this whole area of the economy. As long as we meet our targets the way we do it and what it looks like does not matter.