Sunday, 7 December 2014

Thinking and Risk

When they install a barbed wire fence like this one on a nature reserve, I wonder what sort of thinking goes with the process. Do they acknowledge that it puts wild animals at risk? Do they try to quantify that risk on behalf of the wild animals? Do they tell themselves that it's for a greater good that the wild animals are being expected to accept that level of risk? Do they make some calculation to the effect that being wild animals in a setting where other risks such as from predators are largely absent  it's not unreasonable for the animals to be subjected to this added risk created by humans?
Are they not thinking about the risks at all, simply saying that's the way things have to be so we'll think of other things?

Do they perhaps adopt the mental attitude of, say, a farmer who complains emotionally when a dog harasses his sheep but closes his mind to the experience of lambs in the slaughterhouse?

Do they even know that deer do not always leap cheerfully over this fence, but sometimes climb through it?  Or would they deny that? Typically the widest space between the strands is about 35 cm. Red deer are very large animals. I have watched as some of them have dithered for a time and then decided to go through between the strands. I've then walked closer and been unable to understand how they managed to do that without harming themselves in some way. The hairs on the barbs are on the third strand down and they are just where the deer track arrives at the fence. This can be seen at more than one place on Blacka. Other wild animals use the same routes and some pretty basic observation reveals evidence of them having to negotiate the barbed wire. This picture shows badger hair on the lowest strand. A tight space for a low animal either above or below.

And we should also mention the owl that was caught trapped on the barbed wire some weeks ago.
But perhaps SWT has decided it's best not to think at all.

ADDED 13th December:

What can wildlife-loving locals do to counter the activities of the barbarous installers? One hesitates to mention wire-cutters and this blog certainly does not support their use. What, anyway, would be the result? Probably even more hazardous loose coils of the stuff lying  around semi-hidden before the heathens appear to build a worse structure. There can be some value in 'name and shame' but then we're dealing with the local conservation industry who have a well established reputation for shamelessness. A suggestion coming from students of the Great War is, I fear, more entertaining than practical.

No comments: