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Badger cull could extend to 10 new zones
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust runs the UK’s largest badger vaccination programme.

Natural England is reviewing badger cull applications for 2019

Members of the public are being urged to write to their MP following reports that the badger cull could be extended to 10 new zones this autumn.

The call from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust follows reports that Natural England is reviewing the badger cull applications for 2019. In a statement on its website, the Trust said that Derbyshire is one of 14 zones currently under consideration by MPs.

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust runs the UK’s largest badger vaccination programme. Over the last six years, more than 100 volunteers have been working to stop the spread of bovine TB and prevent a cull in the county.

Tim Birch, head of living landscapes at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Despite the Trust’s successful vaccination programme, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have listed the county for the cull expansion this year.”

“That means the badger cull could come here as soon as early September. We’re deeply concerned that this could result in the deaths of thousands of healthy badgers including ones that have been vaccinated – it would cause significant disruption to our ongoing badger vaccination programme."

He continued: “Our work is widely supported and has had £280,000 worth of Government funding and studies show no evidence of widespread Bovine TB in Derbyshire’s badgers. Our dedicated team will continue vaccinations despite the potential arrival of a cull to look after this iconic and protected British species.”

A Defra spokesperson said that Natural England is currently reviewing the badger cull applications for 2019 and that a decision will be made public ‘in due course’.

“Bovine TB remains one of the greatest animal health threats to the UK, causing devastation for hard-working farmers and rural communities,” he said.

“There is no single measure that will provide an easy answer to beating the disease. That is why we are pursuing a range of interventions to eradicate the disease by 2038, including tighter cattle movement controls, regular testing and vaccinations.”

Natural England has so far authorised minimum four-year licensed badger control operations for 32 areas of England including Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. If the expansion is approved, it would bring the total number of cull zones to more than 40.

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Rare chimp birth announced at Edinburgh Zoo

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) welcomed the birth of a critically endangered western chimpanzee on Monday 3 February at Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail.

The baby girl will be named in the coming days through a public vote, and staff will carry out a paternity test during its first health check to determine the father.

Mother Heleen's first infant, Velu, was born in 2014, making this new baby only the second chimpanzee born in Scotland for more than 20 years.

Budongo Trail team leader Donald Gow said: "While we celebrate every birth, this one is particularly special because our new arrival is a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, a rare subspecies of chimpanzee."

Image (c) RZSS/Donald Gow. 

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BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.