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Trail cameras helping to reduce wildlife crime


Trail cameras installed to help engage young people and reduce wildlife crime have captured the wildlife living at Green Flag award-winning Vicar Water Country Park.

The cameras were installed by Park Rangers at various sites around the park that have no public access, in the hope of spotting some of the park’s wildlife inhabitants as they enjoyed Vicar Water undisturbed.

Since installation a variety of animals have been captured on the cameras including roe deer, foxes and most recently a Eurasian Woodcock, which hasn’t ever been recorded on site at the park before and is noted as a conservation concern on the UK Red List.

The trail cameras have been installed through the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire’s Locality Funding in order to engage the community, particularly young people, with wildlife and are for use across the district in parks and open spaces, including Vicar Water, Sconce Park and Sherwood Heath.

The funding was secured by Newark and Sherwood District Council following the success of the Hill Holt Wood project, which focused on engaging with young people to reduce rural and wildlife crime, in partnership with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire and Nottinghamshire Police.

Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “It is great to see the Locality funded trail cameras are having the desired effect in reducing wildlife crime and antisocial behaviour in Newark and Sherwood.

“This is a significant step in improving the attitude towards our environment, combined with the great work Nottinghamshire Police are doing by going into schools and educating young people on the value of looking after our green spaces and wildlife.

“We also have the fantastic project going on at Hill Holt Wood in Newark, where young people are provided with a safe space to learn and an opportunity to buy into the importance of our wonderful countryside.

“In addition to funding innovative projects such as these, I have also invested in improving Nottinghamshire Police’s rural crime offer, including new vehicles and equipment and training for control room staff – my ask to the public is please do report rural and wildlife crime to Nottinghamshire Police so we can tackle it together.”

Councillor Emma Oldham, Portfolio Holder for Biodiversity and Environmental Services at Newark and Sherwood District Council said:

“Vicar Water is a fantastic asset to our district and whilst there are so many areas of the park that can be enjoyed by visitors, I think these photos really showcase the importance of having protected areas just for wildlife and how valuable they are for supporting biodiversity.

“It is so brilliant to get a glimpse at some of the wonderful wildlife that share our district with us, and I can’t wait to see what we spot next in our parks and green spaces.”

Vicar Water Country Park has been recognised as a Green Flag Award-winning park for a number of years and is located in Clipstone on the site of a former colliery. The park has transformed in recent years into a thriving green space for visitors to enjoy, with an abundance of biodiversity and wildlife too.

The heathland, woodland and grassland, and lake all provide homes and food for a variety of wildlife, including kingfishers, herons, water scorpions, frogs and newts, emperor dragonflies, green woodpeckers, and more.

The District Council’s Street Scene Team have been working to protect, maintain and enhance the park over the colder months to make sure it remains a haven to this wildlife. Work has included the creation of a native wildflower walk, with pathways through the meadow that include living willow tunnels, bee posts and planters. The Council has also partnered up with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust on the Three River Project, a Severn Trent funded scheme to improve the health and flow of the water through the river at the park.

Councillor Paul Taylor, Portfolio Holder for Public Protection and Community Relations at Newark and Sherwood said: “Tackling antisocial behaviour is a vital part of creating a safer district, and that includes antisocial behaviour not just towards residents but also towards wildlife.

“We take wildlife crime very seriously and, in addition to the trail cameras, have a number of projects underway to combat this issue, including engagement with schools, water and fire safety events and a range of planned activities with Fire and Police colleagues over the coming months to further strengthen the message about protecting and enjoying our wildlife.

“These cameras are an asset to our antisocial behaviour reduction work as they not only help to deter wildlife crime and antisocial behaviour in those areas, but they help us engage young people and hopefully allow them to feel more connected to the wildlife that our district is home to.

“We will continue to work with our local partners to tackle rural and wildlife crime and I urge residents to help us in this by being our eyes and ears and always reporting any incidents.”

Posted on Friday 1st March 2024
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