Social Media Reflections

Fulmar on Out Skerries, the lighthouse in the background

You’d be forgiven for assuming nature groups on social media would be a safe haven for people interested in wildlife and conservation free from ill informed and unhelpful opinions. Today was one of those days where it didn’t quite work like that for me.

A chap on a forum I won’t name was upset that a neighbours cat had killed birds in his garden. He was a little outspoken but you might have thought he would get a sympathetic audience. Absolutely not, instead there was a vitriolic response asserting that pet cats taking wildlife is ‘natural’. Let’s be clear about this, introduced predators killing an estimated 27 million birds a year in the UK is not natural.

We have cats and used to have one that sadly occasionally took juvenile Dunnocks. When it died I said we were only having cats if they stayed indoors. And that’s what we do. They seem just fine, it probably helps that we have three floors so there’s plenty of room for exercise. But essentially we got them as kittens and they don’t know any different and seem quite as content as the ones that used to be allowed out.

The other thing that I found uncomfortable today was trolls on a Facebook post about a stricken Fulmar on Blackpool Promenade seeking assistance. ‘Let nature take its course’ was the actual phrase used by somebody well aware that there is currently an oil spill incident in the Irish Sea off the resort. When challenged they said that hundreds of seagulls occur on the seafront and are approachable. I don’t expect people to know the difference between a tubenose like a Fulmar and a gull, but if they don’t you’d hope they wouldn’t sneer at people trying to do right by an animal in distress.

Clearly we are in the midst of storms that will be taxing for the birds that use Liverpool Bay in the winter. With an oil incident as well it may be a trying couple few days, let’s hope not. A Common Dolphin also came ashore dead at Central Pier today, a reminder that they are out there but also that they are vulnerable. This isn’t the right time to be letting nature take its course, nature needs all the help it can get.

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