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Alvez the Cumbrian Tapir packs his bags for pastures new

Alvez the Tapir is leaving his home at The Lake District Wildlife Park Credit: ITV Border

A tapir born at the Lake District Wildlife Park is preparing to leave Cumbria for pastures new.

Alvez is heading off to a breeding programme in the United Arab Emirates in a few weeks time. He's one of a family of four Brazilian tapirs at the Lake District Wildlife Park.

Credit: ITV Border

The three-year-old is the first calf of his mum and dad Muffin and Rio, and has a younger brother Zico, born in 2015.

Credit: ITV Border

There are four species of Tapirs in Central and South America and South-East Asia. All Tapirs are in decline and their plight is symbolic of the wider threat to their natural habitat in the rain forests. It's hoped that the breeding programme will mean Alvez will soon have a family of his own.

Keeper Leanne with Alvez and Zico Credit: ITV Border

Keeper Leanne Harrington has been looking after the Tapir family since Alvez was only a matter of weeks old. She said:

Alvez was quite a Mummy's boy when he was younger, sticking close by for a long time. Now he has minutes of madness, running around his enclosure. In contrast his little brother is very independent already.

Alvez is quite tolerant of his brother who has a cheeky habit of nipping his older brothers' ankles. They both love having their backs scratched which is great for park guests taking part in Keeper Experiences."

– Leanne Harrington


Appleby Horse Fair organisers plead with festival-goers to not arrive early

A horse is cleaned at the Horse Fair in Appleby, Cumbria, the annual gathering of gypsies and travellers. Credit: PA

The organisers of the Appleby Horse Fair have asked attendees to not arrive too early for this year's festival, in order to reduce the impact on the local communities.

The Horse Fair, set to take place between the 2nd and 8th of June, is an annual gathering of Gypsies and Travellers which transforms the village of Appleby, Cumbria.

Around 10,000 Gypsies and Travellers attend the gathering, with up to 30,000 additional visitors from around the UK.

Appleby, on the other hand, has only a population of 2,500 for the rest of the year.

Gypsy and Traveller Billy Welch, a member of the Multi Agency Co-ordinating Group (MASCG), who work to make the Fair safer each year, said:

I would like to thank the Gypsies and Travellers who responded positively last year to our appeal not to arrive too soon for Appleby Fair with their trailers. Your help made a real difference and reduced the impact the Fair had on local communities, many of whom are currently overcoming the impact of the terrible flooding that hit Cumbria in December last year.

So we are appealing once more, for people bringing trailers to Appleby to please respect the Fair, plan your journey carefully and look at for further information on some of the more popular stopping places, so you don't arrive too soon before the Fair starts on 2 June. By doing this you help not only help improve road safety, but also allow more space on road side verges for grazing and bowtops.

– Billy Welch

You can find out more here.

England’s last golden eagle feared dead

A Golden Eagle Credit: PA

England’s last remaining golden eagle has failed to appear this spring, leading RSPB staff and volunteers at its Lake District home to fear that it has died.

The golden eagle had been resident at Riggindale at Haweswater in Cumbria since 2001/02 and had been alone since the death of his mate in 2004.

RSPB staff at Haweswater, who operate a special eagle viewpoint at the site, haven’t seen the bird since last November but only became concerned last month when it still hadn’t appeared. The bird isn’t always sighted during the winter but in spring it would normally have been seen nest building and displaying to attract a mate around its territory in Riggindale.

Lee Schofield, Site Manager at RSPB Haweswater, said:

When the eagle didn’t appear last month we thought there was a chance he might be hunting in a nearby valley but over the past few weeks we’ve been gradually losing hope.

We will probably never find out what happened to him but as he was around 19-20 years old, an advanced age for an eagle, it’s quite possible that he died of natural causes.

His disappearance marks the end of an era as he has been an iconic part of the Haweswater landscape for the past 15 years. During this time, thousands of visitors have travelled from across the country hoping to catch a glimpse of him at the Riggindale Eagle Viewpoint. With him gone, the Lake District has become a bit less wild.

– Lee Schofield

People urged to take care during calving season

Highland cow and its young calves at feeding time Credit: PA

Police in the Borders are urging people to act responsibly around new born calves after reports of a group of youths causing distress to some animals in a field near Hawick.

They say that animals are very protective of their new offspring and can act aggressively towards anyone who approaches them.

They're urging people not to be tempted to get a closer look at the new born animals as it can be dangerous and cause undue distress to the livestock.

PC Suzanne Kay, who is based in Jedburgh, said:

Scotland has some wonderful outdoor trails and under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 everyone has statutory access rights to most parts.

Although the vast majority of people do so in a responsible manner there are occasions when this is not always the case. Unfortunately, we have received a recent report relating to a group of around six youths who were seen within a field near Hawick causing distress to cows and their young calves.

– PC Suzanne Kay


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