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Fire service to stop animal rescues due to costs

North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority says it can no longer afford to respond to “large animal” calls because of cuts to its budget.

Cattle were recently rescued from a mineshaft near Holywell Credit: RSPCA

Over the years scores of horses and cattle have been saved from death when trapped down shafts or sinking in mud – but the North Wales fire service says it won’t turn out for “rope rescues” any more.

However there have been appeals from farmers and horse lovers for a re-think. Stephen James, president of NFU Cymru said unlike individual farmers the current rescuers had the necessary equipment to deal with such emergencies promptly resulting in less stress on animals. The NFU would write to the authority to raise concerns and highlight the importance of such a service in rural Wales.

Mrs Jan Roche, director for Wales of the British Horse Society said they understood the problems with tight budgets but felt it was a retrograde step which not only compromised animal welfare but potentially put people in danger too because it could be extremely dangerous dealing with a frightened animal.

More: RNLI and fire crews rescue cow from Dee Estuary


RSPCA reminds people pigs don't make great pets

The RSPCA has thanked people for offers to re-home a micro-pig found in Swansea.

The pig was rescued from a garden in Ystalyfera

The charity has repeated its warning that they do not make suitable domestic animals.

Micro-pigs have seen a rise in popularity, with many coveting them as cute pets.

Swansea scientists track jellyfish with GPS

Credit: Gower Coast Adventures

Two Swansea University academics have been tracking jellyfish with GPS equipment.

They are trying to explain how the creatures are able to form blooms including hundreds to millions of individuals for periods up to several months.

Biosciences Professor Graeme Hays says jellyfish might look like mere drifters, but some of them have a remarkable ability to detect the direction of ocean currents and to swim strongly against them.

Detecting ocean currents without fixed visual reference points is thought to be close to impossible and is not seen, for example, in lots of migrating vertebrates including birds and turtles.

– Professor Graeme Hays, Swansea University

Professor Hays along with his Swansea University colleague Dr Sabrina Fossette tracked the movements of the jellyfish with GPS loggers and used GPS-tracked floats to record the current flows. They also directly observed the swimming direction of large numbers of jellyfish at the surface of the ocean.

They say understanding the distribution of jellyfish in the open ocean may be practically useful for predicting and avoiding troublesome jellyfish blooms, especially if it turns out that the findings in barrel-jellyfish apply to other species.

While jellyfish do play an important role in ocean ecosystems as prey for leatherback sea turtles and other animals they can also clog fishing nets and sting beachgoers.


Rare bird of prey found in Porth Park

The RSPCA is caring for an injured rare bird of prey after it was found in Porth.

Credit: RSPCA

The female Goshawk, who is thought to be around one-year-old, was collected by an RSPCA inspector after she was found by a member of the public in Porth Park.

Staff at the wildlife centre believe the bird could be in care for six weeks or longer while her wing heals from the fracture.

The bird was unable to fly far and had injured its right wing.

It was most definitely a wild bird and not an owned bird and was probably the most naturally aggressive animal/bird I have ever had in my van.

She has a fractured wing and we do not know how this happened.

She is a beautiful bird and we rarely see them admitted to the centre.


Collie wobbles off a cliff - and survives 300ft plunge

A brave border collie cross is lucky to be alive after survived a 300 feet fall off a snow-covered mountain. Georgie spent more than 18 hours marooned in snow - but was found alive after her ordeal.

Georgie broke her leg in the fall. Credit: Wales News Service

The 10-year-old dog was found with a broken leg after an overnight rescue mission by her owner and friends. Owner Simon Pierce said her survival was "a miracle" after her fall in the Swansea Valley mountains covered with snow.

The drama began when he and his wife Heather, of Resolven, near Neath, went for a mountain walk with Georgie. Simon said, "There was a ledge of frozen snow - and she went through it. She dropped 30 feet in the air and probably rolled another 270 feet down the hill."

The couple feared they had lost their pet. But former miner Simon was determined to do all he could to find Georgie - and began the slow descent in snow. He scoured the mountainside for four hours until being halted by darkness.

Then her returned with friends to find Georgie in the morning to carry her back to his car.

We took her to the vet. She has got a complicated leg break and some bruises and scrapes. The vet was surprised how she survived. She is a tough old boot. It was a miracle she survived.

– Simon Pierce

Plea to save Swansea tropical hothouse from closure

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling on the council to drop its plan to close a popular tropical hothouse in Swansea.

Plantasia was opened in 1990 Credit: Vanessa Harvey

Plantasia, in Parc Tawe, could be shut after Swansea Council announced plans to make savings by slashing £81 million from its budget.

The council has put forward a second option which could see the facility handed over to another organisation.

The proposals have sparked outrage among Plantasia fans who have started a petition to save the hothouse from its demise.

The tropical hothouse plays host to 45 different species of animals Credit: Vanessa Harvey

The attraction is Wales' only indoor living rainforest and has seen over two million people through its doors since its opening in 1990.

The hothouse is also used for educational trips with 10,000 school children visiting every year.

Plantasia plays host to a variety of animals including species of Cotton Top Tamarin monkeys and Egyptian tortoises.

We have to find £81 million of savings over the next three years. This means difficult decisions have to be made to protect as many services as possible for residents across Swansea. The proposal currently out for consultation is to offer an appropriate group the chance to run Plantasia at no cost to the council or, if one can’t be found, to stop providing the service. No decisions have yet been made and all feedback forming part of the consultation process that runs until January 21 will be considered.

– Swansea Council spokesperson
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