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Britain's largest fly has been found in Devon

This is the first time in 15 years that the hornet robberfly has been found in the area. Credit: National Trust

An enormous predatory fly - the largest in the country - has been found at a National Trust farm in Devon.

The hornet robberfly is harmless to humans, but it's a "fearsome predator" of grasshoppers, and its larvae feed on the beetle grubs in cow dung.

Once common across southern England, its numbers have fallen dramatically due to losing its habitat - and this is the first time it has been seen on the East Soar farm near Bolt Head in 15 years.

Credit: National Trust

"We were both surprised and delighted to find this spectacular fly, Britain's largest, on National Trust land near Bolt Head."

– Rob Wolton, who discovered the fly

"A lot of work has been carried out by the Trust and our tenants over the last 4 years to improve the condition of the coastal area for the benefit of a wide range of wildlife. We are really pleased to see discoveries like the hornet robberfly which would not survive without the right grazing conditions."

– Emma Reece, National Trust Area Ranger


Pigeon covered in cooking oil gets washing up liquid bath

Oil can be very dangerous if it gets on birds' feathers. Credit: RSPCA

A pigeon found covered in cooking oil has had a much needed bath at RSPCA West Hatch wildlife centre in Taunton.

The adult pigeon was found in Ilfracombe harbour in Devon with his feathers coated in vegetable oil - which can be very dangerous.

RSPCA veterinary nurse Natalie Stahl said: “Oil can be incredibly damaging to birds – affecting their plumage and their ability to stay warm and dry.".

Her team used normal washing-up liquid and warm water to help remove the sticky oil - thought it took a number of baths to clean the pigeon up and bring him back to full health.

"This poor pigeon has really been through the wars."

– Natalie Stahl, RSPCA veterinary nurse

The centre is hoping to release him back into the wild in the coming weeks.

Abandoned horses need a home

An animal sanctuary in Somerset have two beautiful young horses in need of a home.

5-year-old Sydney was found with a group of 14 other pregnant mares.

She gave birth to a daughter - India - in April at the Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Wambrook, near Chard.

Now both are in excellent health and in need of loving homes.

Sydney and baby India Credit: Ferne Animal Sanctuary


  • A big girl, expected to make at least 14.2 hands high
  • When grown she'll be suitable for riding or being broken to harness
  • Very well handled and can lead, be groomed and pick her feet up
  • Ideally would love a playmate of similar age


  • It’s unknown if she has ever had any training.
  • She has had quite an unpleasant life and is often on the defence - but with some time and tender loving care, she should come round and be a lovely pony.

We are now preparing to wean them so they will both be looking for new homes with people who have experience of training and keeping young horses

– Nikki Haddock, Head of Animal Care at Ferne Animal Sanctuary

Abandoned ponies are now a huge problem throughout the UK.

Horses like these rely on charities to take them in, or they wouldn't have survived.

  • Anyone who can help should contact Nikki Haddock at Ferne Animal Sanctuary on 01460 65214.
  1. West Country (E)

Brian May: 'The cull doesn't work'

Queen guitarist Brian May at the mock funeral procession at Westminster. Credit: ITV News West Country

Campaigners against the badger cull say they're preparing a fresh legal challenge.

It came as rock star Brian May led a mock funeral procession at Westminster in memory of badgers already killed in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

The cull, which the government says is backed by leading vets, was recently extended to Dorset but Dr May said he was seeking a judicial review:


Queen guitarist Brian May to lead badger cull march

Queen guitarist Brian May on a Wounded Badger Patrol in 2013. Credit: PA

Brian May will lead a march to oppose the planned Government badger cull later.

MPs will join the Queen guitarist at the event in London, which has been organised by Team Badger - a collective group of animal welfare charities.

Almost 2300 badgers were killed in the last cull, between 2013 to 2014.

Badger cull restarts across the South West

The government says Bovine TB costs taxpayers £100m each year Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

The government has announced that the Badger cull has officially restarted across Somerset - as well as in a new area in Dorset.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says Bovine TB costs taxpayers £100m each year and is a significant threat to the future of our beef and dairy industries.

But protesters argue that the culls are ineffective.

It costs nearly £6,800 to cull one badger

Credit: Wild Stock

The cost of culling badgers to tackle TB in cattle in our region is more than previously thought.

It costs £6,775 to kill one badger. This is nearly £600 more than predicted by the anti-cull Badger Trust, who made a Freedom of Information request that led to the real figures being released by the Environment Department (DEFRA).

The overall cost of the cull is almost £16.8 million.

A DEFRA spokesman says bovine TB has cost £500 million over the last decade.

The government has recently approved extending the cull to Dorset.

Otter family go wild for new water slide

A family of otters at Newquay Zoo in Cornwall certainly have something to keep them busy this Bank Holiday - after a water slide was placed in their pool.

The new addition is part of an enrichment programme, and is meant to keep the otters entertained and stimulated. Other new methods in the zoo include a bubble machine for the penguins and a blood ice lolly for a male lion.

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