Thursday, 1 January 2009

Wildwood e-news Christmas & New Year 2008/9
In the this edition of Wildwood's e-newsletter we have:
1.   MERRY CHRISTMAS - Seasonal greetings from all at Wildwood
2.   RADIO 4 SPECIAL - Farming today appearance
3.   RECYCLE CHRISTMAS - Looking for wrapping paper etc.
4.   EVENTS FOR 2009 - New events leaflet
5.   HELP! - Tower frame and small tractor needed

1.  MERRY CHRISTMAS - Seasonal greetings from all at Wildwood
Wildwood wishes to extend to all members and supporters of the Trust seasonal greetings and a prosperous new year.
This newsletter will be a little shorter than normal as this is a very quiet period of the year for the park.
The park will only be closed on Christmas and Boxing day and open as normal for all the other days over the holiday period.

2.   RADIO 4 SPECIAL - Farming today appearance
Wildwood is featuring in one hour Radio 4 special.
Radio 4 is airing an hour long special of its popular "Farming Today" programme dealing with the issues of re-introduction and re-wilding in the UK on the 27th December 2008 at 6:35am and Wildwood has been lucky enough to be featured.
Peter Smith, Wildwood's Chief Executive, champions the return of native species like the beaver back into the British countryside as well as managing the wild areas of the UK using species that have become extinct at the hand of man.
"It is good that these issues are being discussed" commented Peter Smith "People need to know the facts about re-introductions and how we can protect our countryside in more inventive ways"
If you are not an early riser then you can catch the programme on the "Listen Again" option on the Radio 4 Website

Sus scrofa
The wild boar, the ancestor to our domestic pigs, is a large pig species covered in dark bristly hairs. It is a widespread species, common in broadleaf forests across much of Europe, Asia and North Africa.
Life span
15-20 years.
90-180cm long with a tail of 30-40cm and weighing between 50 and 200kg.
Physical Description
Ancestors to our domestic pigs, wild boar have long bodies with short legs and a large head on a short neck. Their coat is made of short, bristly hairs and is dark or brindled, although the young are tan with distinctive pale stripes. The snout is prominent, the tail short but tassled, and the ears large and hairy.
Europe, North Africa, Asia (including Sumatra, Japan and Taiwan), and introduced into North America. Feral domestic pigs also live in Australia, New Zealand and North and South America.
Broad-leaved woodland and steppe.
Omnivorous, rooting in litter for roots, nuts, fungi, small animals and carrion.
Adult males are solitary, but females form groups, including their young, called sounders. They communicate constantly using sounds, smell and visual signals such as the position of the ears and tail. Wild boar are active during the day and evening.
Males and females become sexually mature at 18 months, although males may only mate when they reach a certain size and dominance, often around 4 years old. Mating takes place in the autumn after fights between the males to establish dominance. There are many courtship rituals before a receptive female will allow a male to mate, including the production of a salivary foam by the male which may contain pheromones from a lip gland. The young are born after a gestation of 115 days in a nest of vegetation built by the mother, each piglet having its own teat. They are weaned after about 3 months but the piglets will remain with their mother until she gives birth again. The females may continue to live in their mother's sounder until it becomes too large and splits up.
Conservation status
The wild boar, although extinct in many parts of its former range, is not threatened. Feral populations are now resident in Britain, where it was hunted to extinction in medieval times.
Vocalisations are very important, and wild boar are constantly grunting and chirruping to each other, and squeal when alarmed.

Beavers are second only to humans in their capacity to manipulate the environment, by building and maintaining dams, busy beavers can completely change the vegetation, animal life, and other components of the rivers in which they live.
Man has much to learn from beavers:
1. Beavers help create new wildlife habitat
2. Beavers help prevent flooding
3. Trees actually benefit from beavers cutting them down as they re-grow stronger than before
Beaver Facts:
1. Beavers are built for underwater work. Their noses and ears have valves that close when beavers submerge. The beaver's large front teeth-or incisors-protrude in front of their lips, enabling them to cut and chew submerged wood without getting water in their mouths. Their broad tails function as rudders, helping beavers to manoeuvre large logs to their lodges and dams.
2. A beaver's front teeth are razor sharp and never stop growing; beavers must gnaw, chew, and chop nearly all the time. So by keeping up their homes, beavers are also keeping down their dental bills.
3. Years ago, beavers were hunted to extinction for their fur, musk glands and tail. People wore the fur, made perfumes and medicines from the musk glands and ate the tail.
4. Beavers live in lodges which they build in rivers and streams from small trees and mud. They build a dam first, then the lodge which looks like a dome on top of a pile of wood. The entrance is under the water which keeps out other animals. Beavers can stay under water for about fifteen minutes.
5. A beaver might live for 19 years, and weigh 30 kilogrammes and get to a length of four feet. They mate for life and are very social animals, living and working together with other beavers.
6. They eat fresh bark, water plants, berries and fruit. Their large front teeth help them chew through the bark of trees, both to build their lodge, and to eat the bark.
7. After being hunted almost to global extinction, the beaver population has survived and is spreading out across Europe.

It is always good to see new generations born to our herd when we consider they where nearly made extinct during the Second World War. Some of the wild horses' ancestors were stolen by Nazi genetic experimenters under the patronage of Reichmarshal Herman Goering. The Nazis where bent on recreating a genetically pure 'Arian' wild horse.
Thankfully the polish scientists who were looking after the wild horse herds where able to protect some of them. After the War the protected herds were allowed to repopulate the national parks of Poland under the soviet occupation. Once soviet occupation was ended, with the fall of the Iron Curtain, conservationists where able to transport the wild horses to national parks across Europe.
Wildwood Trust pioneered the re-introduction of these amazing animals to the UK in 2002. Wildwood brought the first ever of their breed to arrive in southern England and these horses and their offspring have been helping to restore some of the most precious national nature reserves in the UK.
The 'Konik pony' as they are sometimes known originated in Poland and Konik is actually the Polish word for small horse.
They are a highly unusual breed in that they directly descended from the wild European forest horse or 'Tarpan' which was hunted to extinction in Britain in Neolithic times. Tarpan survived in central Europe until the late 1800s when the last of their race were captured in the primeval forest of Bialoweiza, Poland, and transported to zoos. When the last of these died in 1910 the pure race disappeared forever.
Since this time conservation grazing projects throughout Europe have used the Konik horses for wetland grazing projects. The former habitat of Tarpan was marshy woodland where their grazing activities help create ideal living conditions for a host of associated wildlife such as rare geese, spoonbills, bitterns and corncrakes.
The project to restore them to Kentish wetlands is a joint venture between the Wildwood Trust near Canterbury, Natural England, Kent Wildlife Trust, Canterbury City Council and Canterbury & District Enterprise Trust.

3.   RECYCLE CHRISTMAS - Looking for wrapping paper etc.
The education department is asking for people to not throw away all the used wrapping paper, tinsel, ribbon etc from Christmas.
So instead of filling up bin liners to go to landfill bring it along to Wildwood so that it can be recycled as craft materials.
Anyone wishing to do this must bring their items along to the Education centre on or before Sunday 4th January 2009.
4.   EVENTS FOR 2009 - New events leaflet
The events leaflet for the first part of the year is now being prepared and you can download a copy using the following link

There are new events including "Zoo keeper for a day", Konik Horse Walk and other exciting additions to the programmes we offer.
Please also note that booking early for holiday events is recommended as these are very popular and soon fill up.

5.   HELP! - Tower frame and small tractor needed
Wildwood is very lucky to have SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) status for much of the woodland within the park.
This does require work to ensure that it is looked after correctly as part of this we need some equipment to allow us to manage the woodland effectively.
Wildwood is asking if anyone could donate any of the following items:
A tower frame will allow safe access to the higher parts of taller trees for lopping and other works.
A small tractor will allow us to remove brush, logs etc from areas where coppicing is taking place.
If you can help then call the office on 01227 712111

Martyn Nicholls
Press Officer
Wildwood Trust
Tel: 01227 712111
Wildwood Trust
Herne Common
Herne Bay
Registered Charity No 1093702
Wildwood Trust is Kent's unique 'Woodland Discovery Park', a visitor attraction with a difference.
Wildwood is not only the best place to bring the family for a day out, but it is also a bold and innovative new charity, backed by the UK's leading wildlife conservationists. As a new charity Wildwood needs everyone's support in its mission to save our native and once native wildlife from extinction.
Wildwood Trust's vision is to bring back our true 'wildwood', a unique new way of restoring Britain's land to its natural state. This involves releasing large wild herbivores and developing conservation grazing systems to restore natural ecological processes to help Britain team with wildlife again.
The Wildwood 'Woodland Discovery Park' is an ideal day out for all the family where you can come 'nose to nose' with British Wildlife. Wildwood offers its members and visitors a truly inspirational way to learn about the natural history of Britain by actually seeing the wildlife that once lived here.
Set in a sublime 38 acres of Ancient Woodland, Wildwood offers visitors a truly unique experience. Come Nose to Nose with our secretive badgers, experience what it is like to be hunted by a real live pack of wolves, watch a charging wild boar or track down a beaver in his lodge.
Wildwood Trust runs a highly successful programme of Conservation Projects
- we are the UK's leading experts in rescuing and re-establishing colonies of Britain's most threatened mammal, the water vole. Wildwood Trust has pioneered the use of ancient wild horses to restore nature reserve. Wildwood Trust has been at the forefront of efforts to re-establish the European Beaver back in Britain where they belong. European Beaver have been proven to help manage water ways to bring back a huge range of plants, insects and animals.

No virus found in this incoming message.
Checked by AVG -
Version: 8.0.176 / Virus Database: 270.9.19/1860 - Release Date: 21/12/2008 15:08