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Bisons are returning to the UK for the first time in 6,000 years

This is amazing news!

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Brian Miller/Unsplash

A small heard of wild bison is set to be released in Kent in spring 2022 to help revive the species. 

Wild bison have not been in the UK for 6,000 years, but with this £1m project that will reintroduce the animals, a future for the species can be secured. 

The first phase of release will see one male and three females set free in a woodland. The bison will also naturally regenerate a former pine wood plantation by killing off trees, creating a healthy mix of woodland, scrub and glades that will boost insect, bird and plant life.

The bison will come from the Netherlands or Poland, where previous releases have been safe and successful.

Jeremy Stenuit/Unsplash

Since 1970, the population of most of the UK’s important wildlife have plummeted by an average of 60%, making Britain is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.

Paul Hadaway, from Kent Wildlife Trust, said: “The Wilder Blean project will prove that a wilder, nature-based solution is the right one to tackle the climate and nature crisis we now face. Using missing keystone species like bison to restore natural processes to habitats is the key to creating bio-abundance in our landscape.”

Trees are killed by bison eating the bark or rubbing against them to remove their thick winter fur. 

This dead wood is a feast for insects and birds. It also creates a sunny clearing where native plans can survive.

The trust believe nightingales and turtle doves will benefit from the bison’s ‘ecosystem engineering’. 

Brian Miller/Unsplash

Steppe Bison are thought to have roamed the UK until about 6,000 years ago but went globally extinct due to hunting and changes in habitat. 

The European bison that will be released in Kent is a descendant of the species and the closest living relative. 

The European bison is the continent’s largest land mammal with bulls weighing up to a tonne. Stan Smith of Kent Wildlife Trust said: “They’re enormous but what is amazing is how they blend into their background and they’re quite docile really.”

The project will cover 500 hectares with the bison first placed in a 150-hectare area, giving them enough space even as the herd grows. Normal cattle fencing will stop them wandering further afield. 

Jonathan Mast/Unsplash

The public will be able to visit the bison with rangers and watch them from viewing platforms one they are settled. 

Paul Whitfield, of Wildwood Trust said: “The partners in the Kent project have long dreamed of restoring the true wild woodlands that have been missing from England for too long.

“People will be able to experience nature in a way they haven’t before, connecting them back to the natural world around them in a deeper way.”

The bison will be kept ‘as wild as possible’ in order for the project to succeed which means they will not be given food or artificial shelter.

mana5280/Unsplash

“This initiative could be good news for Britain’s battered biodiversity,” said Rebecca Wrigley, of Rewilding Britain. “It’s increasingly clear that bold and imaginative rewilding is urgently needed to tackle the country’s worrying loss of wildlife.”

She added that far more needed to be done across the UK to reintroduce large herbivores and “unleash their biodiversity-boosting rewilding magic”.

Smith said: “Sometimes in the rewilding debate people think that it’s a look back to the past, but that’s not what we’re about. We’re about trying to find the right natural solution for the modern world.”

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‘Inspirational’ teacher with no underlying health conditions sadly dies from coronavirus

RIP Donna Coleman

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A 42-year-old teacher with no underlying health conditions has sadly died from coronavirus.

Donna Coleman, described as an ‘inspirational’ teacher, returned to her role at Burnley College when schools reopened even though she told her family she was ‘scared’.

Mourners lined the streets this week to pay their respects to the much-loved teacher, with tributes pouring in. One emotional message simply read: “This lady changed my son’s life.”

Donna admitted to her family that she ‘didn’t feel safe’, but she wanted to go back to the job ‘she loved’.

JustGiving

Now her sister Vicki, 45, has called for teachers to be given vaccine priority to protect them, telling the Mirror that the government needs to do more to help keep them safe.

She said: “We need teachers to be vaccinated as soon as possible… Donna told me in September that she was scared.

“Don’t get me wrong, she wanted to go back – she loved her job – but she said staff members were terrified.”

After she began to suffer from breathing problems on December 29th, Donna was rushed into Blackburn Royal Hospital, where she messaged Vicki on New Year’s Day.

She promised to FaceTime her sister the next day, but didn’t manage the call, as by this point she was already on a ventilator despite having no underlying conditions.

Vicki added: “She had messaged friends asking them to look after her family, so she must have been scared.

“My dad and sister went to see her and came back home looking shocked, saying, ‘she’s not coming out of this.’

“I went the next day, I held her hand, I said goodbye. That wasn’t Donna, she wasn’t there, she’d gone.”

Sadly, Vicki says she doesn’t think ‘we’d be having this conversation’ if schools and colleges had closed earlier.

A JustGiving page has been created in Donna’s memory, and has already smashed its target of £1,000, having raised more than £10.5k at the time of writing – you can donate here.

Our thoughts are with Donna’s family at this difficult time 

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Police to issue £800 fines to anyone attending house parties of more than 15 people

“Next week we will be introducing a new £800 fine for those attending house parties”

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Greater Manchester Police / Facebook

From next week anyone attending an illegal gathering of more than 15 people risks being hit with a £800 fine.

Priti Patel has given police the power to dish out new £800 fines to anyone who either organises or attends a large house party or other gathering.

The home secretary announced the new measures yesterday at a Downing Street press conference, with the fines going up to a maximum of £6,400 for repeat offences.

Greater Manchester Police / Facebook

She said: “Next week we will be introducing a new £800 fine for those attending house parties, which will double for each repeat offence up to a maximum level of £6,400.

“These fines will apply to those who attend illegal gatherings of more than 15 people in homes.

“The science is clear. Such irresponsible behaviour poses a significant risk to public health, not only to those in attendance but also to our wonderful police officers who attend these events to shut them down.”

Martin Hewitt, the chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, also spoke at the press conference, where he said the new announcement was welcome news.

gmpolice / Twitter

He said: “We have repeatedly made it clear that house parties and other large gatherings should not be happening.

“They are dangerous, irresponsible and totally unacceptable.

“I hope the likelihood of an increased fine acts as an incentive for those people who are thinking of attending or organising such events.”

According to Mr Hewitt, 250 fines of £10,000 have been dished out across England to people who have organised large gatherings since August.

He added: “I make no apology for those fines… Now anyone who attends one of these gatherings can expect to receive a £800 fine”.

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Mum-of-two raffles off stunning £600k five-bedroom house and Ferrari for just £2

Wait until you see inside the stunning house

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Jennifer Matthews

After spending nearly a year locked down in our homes due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all thought about moving house at some point, just for a change of scenery.

Well, if you are thinking about moving somewhere a bit bigger, then we’ve got just the thing for you – a stunning £590,000 bespoke five-bedroom house.

And in even better news, you could grab this beautiful house for just £2, as owners Jennifer and David Matthews are raffling off the property, and are throwing in their Ferrari as well.

Jennifer Matthews

Jennifer Matthews

The couple built Bramble Lodge – which is located between Bolton and Chorley, near to Adlington – from scratch eight years ago, but now want to sell up and move on.

They came to the difficult decision of selling their ‘dream home’ as they need a more manageable property to clean and run, because of Jennifer’s health condition.

Known as Ventricular tachycardia, it’s an incurable heart condition that causes a fast, abnormal heart rate, and means the mum-of-two could die at any moment.

Jennifer Matthews

Jennifer Matthews

However, the coronavirus crisis has made it very difficult to sell the property, which is why they decided to try their luck on popular raffle site Raffall.

This is good news for anyone dreaming of moving into a huge, new family home, as the keys to the five-bedroom detached house – which is worth over half a million and is located in a sought-after postcode – could be yours for as little as £2.

Bramble Lodge is set in its own grounds, hidden away behind a dry stone wall with electric gates for maximum privacy and security, and surrounded by stunning gardens, complete with trees and even a swing.

There’s lots of parking space, with the large drive able to accommodate four cars, which will include the 2004 Ferrari 360 Spider that you claim alongside the house if you win.

Jennifer Matthews

Jennifer Matthews

Once inside, there are three beautiful reception rooms and a huge kitchen area with a breakfast bar and an even an Aga.

Head up the elegant spiral staircase to five double sized bedrooms, including one with an en-suite and slipper bath. The second bedroom has a stunning feature window with the staircase to the kitchen area.

The area – once home to Ryan Giggs – boasts outstanding primary schools, a nearby train station with trains to Manchester, has good motorway links, and is also close to the award-winning The Cherry Tree at Blackrod.

Jennifer Matthews

Jennifer Matthews

The Matthews need to sell all the tickets on Raffall by February 14th, or the raffle will end before that if the last ticket sells before that date.

The lucky winner will be chosen at random, so make sure you grab your ticket or tickets ASAP, as they’re sure to sell quickly.

You can find out more and grab a ticket on the Raffall site here – good luck!

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