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Early spring ‘could spell disaster’ for wildlife
Hedgehogs and other wild animals are starting to emerge from hibernation early.
Met Office predicts cold snap to follow unseasonably warm weather

Unusually warm weather is prompting UK wildlife to come out of hibernation early, which could spell disaster when the weather turns cold again.

This is the stark warning from the RSPB, which has received a number of reports about birds attempting to nest and breed, butterflies emerging, ducklings being born and hedgehogs, reptiles and insects coming out of hibernation.

Even migrant birds such as swallows and house martins are appearing back in the UK, weeks earlier than they would normally be expected.

The Met Office is predicting another week of mild conditions, followed by a return to unsettled, wet and windy weather in March.

Charlotte Ambrose from the RSPB’s wildlife team, said: “Birds rely on environmental cues such as temperature to know when to start making a nest and start breeding. Because of the extremely mild weather, some birds and other wildlife are starting early.

“This is not necessarily a bad thing as it may allow some birds to have an extra brood before the main breeding season starts, but if the weather changes back to more normal conditions, the birds may get caught out and struggle to find enough food for themselves and their young.

“If invertebrates emerge early they will be here when the early nesting birds and their chicks need them, but again a cold snap could mean they don’t survive. Any sudden bad weather can kill-off early flowering plants, which are a source of nectar for insects, meaning they will struggle to find enough food.”

Martin Harper, the charity’s director of global conservation, said that the warmer weather should “ring alarm bells” as these early signs of spring are likely down to climate change.

“As we expect the weather to return to temperatures more traditionally associated with this time of year – as they are forecast to – then there could be a real crisis for our birds, insects and other wildlife,” he added.

Members of the public are being urged to help garden wildlife survive the possible cold snap by providing energy-rich foods including meal worms and fat balls, putting up nest boxes, planting pollen-rich flowers and offering fresh water for drinking and bathing.

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Registrations open for overseas veterinary professionals course

News Story 1
 Registrations are now open for the RCVS CPD course for overseas veterinary professionals, which covers an introduction to the UK veterinary professions.

The course is aimed at overseas-qualified veterinary surgeons and nurses during their first two years of working in the UK, in addition to those considering working here. It provides graduates with the key information and skills required to practice in the UK, as well as helping them understand their legal duties as veterinary professionals.

For more information and to book your place please click here. The course will be held at Belgravia House, London, on Wednesday 12 June.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
BVA launches award to celebrate young vets

A new award has been launched to celebrate inspirational young vets who are making a difference in their day to day work.

Nominations are now open for the BVA Young Vet of the Year Award, which is the first of its kind. It is open to all vets registered with the RCVS in the first eight years of their careers, working in any veterinary sphere, including clinical practice, research, education or veterinary politics. Organisers are looking for an ‘exceptional young vet’ whose work has benefitted the veterinary community or the workplace.

The awards are open for self-entry and nominations by 1 August 2019. The winner will be announced at London Vet Show on 14 November 2019, where a £1000 cash prize will be awarded, alongside a ‘career enhancing experience’ with Zoetis.