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Badger cull to be extended to Dorset

The government has announced there is to be a badger cull in Dorset this year. Credit: Ben Birchall / PA Wire

The South West's controversial badger cull is to be extended to Dorset.

Several farmers had applied for a licence to kill the animals, which are thought to infect cattle with bovine TB.

The government says extending the cull is part of a long-term strategy to beat the disease - but protestors argue that existing culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire (which are to be repeated this year) are ineffective and fail to meet their targets.

“England has the highest incidence of TB in Europe and that is why we are taking strong action to deliver our 25-year strategy to eradicate the disease and protect the future of our dairy and beef industries.

“This includes strengthening cattle testing and movement controls, vaccinating badgers in the buffer zone around high-risk areas, and culling badgers where the disease is rife.

“Our approach of dealing with the disease in cattle and wildlife has worked overseas and is supported by leading vets.”

– Farming Minister George Eustice

A wildlife charity which is strongly against the cull has recently awarded a grant to a badger vaccination programme in Dorset.

Brian May taking part in an anti-badger-cull protest in Bristol. Credit: PA

Earlier this week an animal welfare charity - founded by Queen guitarist Brian May - threatened legal action if the badger cull goes ahead for a third year.

Can Shaun the Sheep find a home for Anne the Dog?

Bristol Dogs and Cats Home has taken one of their homeless dogs on an extra special long walk to try to get her adopted.

Staffordshire bull terrier Anne has been with the charity for the last eight months. So they've taken the three year-old to visit all 70 of the Shaun in the City sculptures around Bristol to help her find a "forever home."

We sent our "lead" correspondent Matthias Kurth to find out more.


Horsing around? Student takes pony to collect GCSE results

Ebony Kenington was all smiles as she collected her results on horseback! Credit: Dean Blake

For many students just getting in the car to travel to school today would have been a struggle, as thousands nervously went to pick up their GCSE results.

But for one teenager from the South West, the journey was horseplay as she decided to ride to Hanham Woods Academy to collect her envelope.

Ebony Kenington might have chosen an unconventional method of travel but she was all smiles after receiving her results.

(We're assuming she got an A* in horsing around)

Don't ignore huge rise in jellyfish sightings, says charity

The charity says the jellyfish rise cannot be ignored. Credit: Sam Morys

The Marine Conservation Society says there has been a huge rise in jellyfish sightings in the South West.

In 2014 there were a record 1,400 reports - and this year there had already been more than a thousand by July.

The charity says the rise cannot be ignored and more research is needed into its impact.

Panda born after lonely heart advert

Rare red panda cub Credit: Longleat

A rare red panda cub has been born at Longleat after keepers launched an international lonely hearts ad to find a mate for their male.

It’s the first time the famous Wiltshire safari park has successfully bred red pandas.

Dad Ajenda, which means ‘King of the Mountain’, came to Longleat from Germany in 2012 and mum Rufina, meaning ‘red-haired’, arrived from Italy just over a year later, following an appeal by keepers.

Baby panda with mum Rufina Credit: Longleat

The birth is particularly welcome as this particular pairing is deemed to be critical to the ongoing success of European Endangered Species Programme for the Red Panda.

Like their famous, but unrelated, namesakes the giant pandas, red pandas are increasingly endangered in the wild.

The species was officially designated as ‘Vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2008 when the global population was estimated at about 10,000 individuals.

As yet unnamed boy panda Credit: Longleat

Like giant pandas about two-thirds of their food intake is made up of bamboo. Bamboo is not the most nutritious of foods so they have to eat a lot of it to survive.

As it is relatively low in calories, red pandas tend to spend much of their time either eating or sleeping.

As well as plain bamboo keepers supplement their diet with a mix of fruits, eggs and the occasional insects. They also make a special type of bamboo cake which the pandas are especially fond of.

A red panda was featured as Master Shifu, the Kung Fu teacher, in the 2008 film Kung Fu Panda and its 2011 sequel Kung Fu Panda 2.

We’re delighted with how well Rufina is looking after the young cub and both mother and baby are doing brilliantly.

Cubs don’t tend to start venturing out on their own for the first three months and Rufina, like all red panda mums, regularly moves the cub to different nesting areas.

This is perfectly natural behaviour but makes keeping track of the baby, or even confirming what sex it is, somewhat problematic for us!

– Robert Curtis, keeper


Police release dog bite CCTV

Police want to find this dog and its handlers Credit: Gloucestershire Police

Police have released CCTV of a dog and its handler after a 15 year old boy was bitten outside a shop in Gloucester.

The incident occurred outside McColls store in St John’s Avenue, Churchdown at about 6.05 pm on Sunday 12 July.

A dog is reported to have bitten the boy on the right hand, puncturing his little finger.

The couple with the dog then left with no apology, possibly in a white or cream Mini.

Fireman rescue Labrador with its head stuck in a pram

Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service have tweeted that they were called to rescue a pet Labrador who had got its head stuck in a pram.

The incident happened in early this morning at around 7am in Warminster.

The dog has been released and is uninjured but he might not be going near a pram again anytime soon.

Swindon cat found with knife in its back finds new home

Minus a few of her nine lives Misty the cat has now been re-homed. Credit: SWNS

A cat from Swindon who was found with a nine inch knife it its back has found a loving new home with a Police worker.

Misty was found in Spindle Tree Court, with a blade through her shoulder last month and was taken to a nearby vets in Wiltshire.

Whilst Wiltshire Police continue to investigate the incident, the cat has found a loving new home with control room worker Laura Bellis.

We see some pretty horrible things in there but this touched a nerve. When I saw the photos I was horrified.

I was quite nervous when we got her home but it shows how strong and how resilient she is that she's come this far and survived.

She settled in straight away. It's like she's finally found her home.

– Laura Bellis, Misty's new owner

The black and white cat is now free from all bandages and stitches and is settling into her new life with Laura.

Vet Emma Burns, who cared for Misty when she was first taken in, says the team are delighted she has been happily re-homed.

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