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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


Paralysed rabbit finds new lease of life

A giant rabbit living at a West Cumbrian animal sanctuary has been saved after losing use of its legs. Bertha now uses adapted dog wheels.

There were fears she'd have to be put down, but now Bertha has her freedom back.

Well I've actually seen dogs in wheelchairs and I thought: if it works for a dog, then why not a rabbit? If it wasn't for the wheelchair, she would need daily physio, baths every day which she hated, and obesity because she eats everything in sight basically...

– Melanie James, Ani-Mel Haven

Gamekeepers take docking fight to Holyrood

Some of the region's gamekeepers were at Holyrood today, as part of their campaign for working dogs to be exempt from the ban on docking dogs' tails.

The gamekeepers say the law preventing docking is actually causing suffering to spaniels, who can injure their tails while they're working.

They have presented a petition containing 4,000 signatures to the Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead.

The practice of docking was outlawed in 2007, and at the moment applies to all dogs except where a tail is already diseased or injured.

Offenders can be fined up to £5,000 or face six months imprisonment


Animal centre 'struggling to cope'

The Eden Animal Rescue Centre are 'struggling to cope' Credit: ITV News Border

An animal rescue centre in Cumbria says it's struggling to cope with the number of animals needing care.

They're almost at crisis point with not enough money and they need volunteers to help them.

Staff at the The Eden Centre just off the M6 near Shap say many people are finding it too expensive to feed their pets and pay vet's bills.

Vigil to be held over deer cull plans

Campaigners who are against plans for a controversial cull of deer at the Sellafield nuclear site are due to hold a vigil on Sunday (16th February).

Around a dozen roe deer are trapped between two fences at the west Cumbrian site.

Radiation Free Lakeland (RFL) has organised the protest outside the site gates.

A spokesperson for Sellafield Ltd said culling wildlife of any sort was a last resort and would only ever been done on expert advice

We have a duty to manage wildlife responsibly at Sellafield Ltd and we take this very seriously, which is why we consult the relevant experts for the best advice when dealing with any wildlife at the site. We have consulted with a veterinary specialist, an ecologist and the Deer Initiative as the lead providers of best practice guidance for sustainable deer management in England and Wales. All the alternative approaches available to a secure nuclear licensed site have been considered and / or attempted before deciding to cull the small number of deer at Sellafield.

– Sellafield Ltd

How hedgehog homes are helping fish stocks

The Environment Agency is revisiting a Cumbrian lake where hedgehog shaped refuges were installed last year to help protect fish stocks.

Bassenthwaite is the first English lake to use the spiky constructions which provide shelter and a safe haven from predators.

A remote control boat will help monitor how well they are working.

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