Rising Litter at Kent Nature Reserve Threatens Grazing Animals

Rising Litter at Kent Nature Reserve Threatens Grazing Animals

Increase in Litter at Heather Corrie Vale Nature Reserve Raises Concern for Grazing Animals in Kent

The picturesque beauty spots of Kent have become a dumping ground for litter, causing concern for the safety of grazing animals. Heather Corrie Vale nature reserve in Darenth Valley is one such location that has seen a rise in discarded rubbish, posing a threat to the local wildlife.

Kent Wildlife Trust, responsible for managing the reserve, has reported an alarming increase in litter strewn across grazing areas. In particular, the charity has raised concerns about the welfare of cattle who are at risk of ingesting harmful materials. Conservation grazing ranger Jess Allam has been carrying litter bags with her during her rounds to clean up the reserve, but the amount of rubbish continues to grow.

“The grazing animals have healthy appetites and will eat almost anything, making it difficult for them to distinguish between food and litter,” explains Jess. “If they consume rubbish, it can make them incredibly sick and even lead to death. This is a serious threat to their well-being, as well as an added expense for the trust to provide proper veterinary care.”

The problem goes beyond just consuming litter. Broken glass bottles and cans also pose a danger to the animals, with several cases of injuries reported in the past. One incident involved a Highland cow who suffered a severe lameness after stepping on a broken beer bottle, while another cow had to be sedated to remove a roller skate wheel stuck in its horns.

The trust’s team of volunteers, wardens, and conservation grazing rangers are responsible for the daily care of the animals. However, with the increasing amount of litter, their time is being diverted to clean up the reserve and ensure the safety of the animals and other wildlife. Kent Wildlife Trust is now appealing for volunteers to join their clean-up efforts on Friday, February 23. Interested individuals can find more information on their website.

“These sites are vast, and it’s easy to miss litter if you’re not in the right spot,” says Jess. “Not only does it pose a threat to our grazing animals, but it also affects other wildlife in the area. We want to focus our efforts on improving the visitor experience and protecting the local wildlife, rather than constantly cleaning up after litterbugs.”

The trust urges visitors to respect the natural beauty of the reserve and properly dispose of their rubbish. With the help of volunteers, they hope to keep the reserve clean and safe for all to enjoy.

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