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Study 'reveals north/south genetic divide in Welsh red kite'

A study of the modern red kite population in Wales has revealed a north/south genetic divide that runs along the Towy Valley.

In the 1930s only one breeding pair remained in Wales. Credit: Stephen Wilson/ PA Wire

This is one of the findings of a study of the genetic status of the red kite in Wales by Aberystwyth University postgraduate student Ilze Skujina.

The research was undertaken as part of a project to provide guidance on the long-term conservation of the red kite.

DNA was collected from feathers cast off by the birds.

The molecule acts like a bar-code and provides geneticists with information about the relations between populations and individuals.

I was not only able to reconfirm that the modern Welsh kite population still fall into a Northern and Southern groups (as had been detected in the 1980s using the single genetic fingerprint probe available at the time) but also detect a genetic difference between the older Central-Welsh and the relatively new Red kite population in Shropshire and Herefordshire

– Ilze Skujina, Postgraduate Student, Aberystwyth University

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Snowdonia's dark skies status bid

Snowdonia's bid for Dark Sky Reserve status, meaning it would be protected from light pollution, is gathering pace. The first of a series of public drop-in sessions is being held tonight.

Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Volunteers from the Snowdonia Society and others have been recording night light, and lighting specialists were commissioned to conduct a lights survey in Snowdonia.

The society says, with the help of volunteers, and hours of surveying, it was concluded that Snowdonia has a true potential as a dark sky tourist destination, and the dark sky in Snowdonia is extremely valuable and therefore the Authority should protect it.

We can’t ignore the benefits of being an area which has been designated as a Dark Sky Reserve. The area’s wildlife will be protected, the quality of the environment will be improved, and there will be a new natural attraction to draw new visitors to Snowdonia during quiet periods of the year. This in turn will improve the local economy and the dark sky of Snowdonia will be protected for future generations.

– Jonathan Cawley, Snowdonia National Park Authority

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Swansea horse charity pleads for donations

A group of volunteers are calling for help to safeguard the future of a scheme which looks after neglected or abandoned horses in Swansea.

The Community Horse and Pony scheme which currently has seven horses in its care but is facing a bleak future after the charity that funds it has gone into administration.

The group says that despite their best efforts food and supplies are starting to run out.

Our Swansea Correspondent Dean Thomas reports.

Pembrokeshire Coast Path repairs completed

Repairs to the path near Aberbach, Dinas were the last. Credit: Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority says it's completed more than £70,000 repairs on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail in the last 12 months, in the wake of the damage caused by last year’s severe storms.

It says the combination of extreme weather and high tides washed away bridges, undermined steps and meant some parts of the Coast Path had to be resurfaced or realigned.

Many of the repairs were finished in time for the start of last year’s busy summer season, but the unprecedented spread and scale of the damage meant that some of work had to be completed later.

The National Park Authority’s Warden Teams must be commended for completing these repairs as quickly as possible, with close communication with coastal landowners.

– Dave MacLachlan, Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail Officer
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