Report from John Murray
DEFRA records sightings of exotic mammals in England. Sightings
reported by the general public are a valued contribution to the
surveillance programme. The Department has a particular interest in
wild or feral boar escapees from zoos or other animal collections
A map is available showing Indicative distribution of wild boar in the England and Wales (based on surveys by MAFF, 1998)
To report a sighting please e-mail details to the Wildlife Administration Unit (please quote: for the attention of Wildlife Administration Unit - Exotic sighting). Reports can also be faxed or posted. If you would like to discuss the sighting with one of our advisory staff please contact the Wildlife Administration Unit who will either assist you directly or put you in touch with a wildlife management adviser.
Key details to include in reports:
Type of animal (e.g. wild boar)
Description of animal (e.g. colour, size, and any other identifying features)
Type of sighting (e.g. visual, tracks or other indirect signs)
Location (as precise as possible please)
Number of animals observed, or inferred from signs
Comments on behaviour or activity of animal
Your contact details (in some cases we may wish to contact you to further discuss details of the sighting)
DEFRA staff do not normally carry out field enquiries in relation to exotic sightings but can give advice over the telephone. Two situations where field enquries may be considered appropriate are:
1 Significant agricultural damage attributed to wild boar (any threat to human life should be reported to the police, while conservation concerns should be referred to the DEFRA European Wildlife Division.
2 Livestock deaths attributed to 'big cats' (any threat to human life should be reported to the police).
DEFRA Wildlife Administration Unit is located in Bristol. Technical advice is provided by specialist wildlife advisers based in each Government Office Region of England. The Administration Unit and technical advisers are part of the National Wildlife Management Team.
DEFRA covers England.
WALES / CYMRU
If you live in Wales, please contact:
National Assembly for Wales
Food Farming Development Division
Yr Hen Ysgol Gymrag
Tel: 01970 627 762
If you live in Scotland, please contact:
Environment and Rural Affairs Department (ERAD)
Branch 2- Agricultural Pollution, Pesticides and Pest Control
47 Robbs Loan
Tel: 0131 244 6360
While applauding DEFRA's sudden apparent change of heart, I would like to urge everyone to report any encounters with exotic cats to a reputable private organization such as Scottish Big Cats or the Exotic Animals Register (01179-024807) AS WELL - DEFRA and their buddies in the Welsh Assembly Agriculture Dept. may well prove to be a black hole for data. At present the Aberystwyth office is telling even MPs and AMs that providing a summary of the data collected so far is altogether too time-consuming for their limited resources.
For Wales, we now have a detailed database set up in Swansea to record exotic cat sightings, possible livestock kills, etc. This is structured so that the aggregate data can be mapped and analysed in terms of their ecological, environmental and landscape implications, for eventual publication. No detailed information about individual incidents that is not already in the public domain (e.g. in the press) will be published without permission. You can make contact via email@example.com or 07866-995809.
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