DVD: Wild Mammals of Lough Key Country

This special DVD by Peter Akokan of Foxwatch Ireland brings to life the enchanting wild animals of Lough Key country in north Roscommon.

Showing rare close-up footage of badgers, foxes, pine martens, fallow deer, pipistrelle bats, Irish hares and red squirrels, this captivating short film captures the beauty of Lough Key and its wildlife.

The Wild Mammals of Lough Key Country is the culmination of hours of filming in the Roscommon wilds where Peter patiently tracked down and recorded his subjects. Shot with a single camcorder and fully narrated, the 24-minute film presents detailed knowledge and behaviour of each mammal and is also semi-instructional on how to observe them in their natural habitat.

Order your copy today for just £12. Email Peter Akokan for ordering details.

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Make your rubbish animal-friendly

Think before you throw away!

This unfortunate fox was found caught up in a trap which was formed from nothing more than a rusty drinks can.

Household waste can become deadly when it ends up on a rubbish tip where animals search for food and every year thousands of such creatures die miserable deaths or suffer because of the thoughtless disposal of rubbish.

You can help by disposing of your rubbish safely and securely. Remember that out of sight does not mean out of mind. Rubbish that you put in a litter bin or secure dustbin may end up on an open rubbish tip where it can be harmful to animals.

Please make sure that your rubbish will not harm pets, farm animals of wildlife.

1. Plastic bags: Tie a knot in all plastic bags before disposing of them. Knotted bags are less likely to blow away. Also, animals are less likely to climb inside and suffocate. Birds and other animals scavenging on waste tips are less likely to confuse knotted bags with food and eat them. Rather than throwing them away, re-use your plastic bags. When you visit the supermarket, for example, bring your own bags with you for your shopping.

2. Cans: The best animal and environment-friendly option when it comes to cans is to recycle – contact your local county council to find out if there are any facilities in your area. If you must dispose of cans with your household waste, make sure that you remove the lid completely from your cans. Then drop the lid to the bottom of the can and firmly pinch the top shut. This stops the lid acting as a barb and trapping an animal’s head as it nudges it into the tin.

3. Yoghurt pots: Remove the lids completely from yoghurt pots and scrunch the lids up. This reduces the risk of hedgehogs and other wildlife getting their heads stuck inside the pots.

4. Beer can binding: Always cut open the loops on the plastic binding that holds beer and soft drink cans together. This stops animals getting tangled up in the binding. Even better, buy drinks cans with a cardboard carrying pack instead – then recycle the cardboard.

5. Bottles and jars: Take all empty bottles and jars to a bottle bank. Glass can cause serious injuries and is a potential fire hazard so it should never be left lying around. If you can’t recycle your plastic bottles, cut them in half before you throw them away (children should always be supervised when doing this). This way, small animals like mice and voles won’t get trapped inside – it’s easier to get into a bottle or jar than to get out as the insides are slippy and animals won’t be able to get enough grip to escape.

6. Rubber bands: Snip rubber bands so that animals don’t get caught up in them.

7. Solvents and oil: It is illegal to tip solvents or sump oil from cars down a drain as they can get into streams and rivers where they cause pollution. Some garages have collection points for used sump oil which can then be recycled.

8. Trolleys: Always return supermarket trolleys. They are a hazard to farm animals and wildlife which can get stuck in them.

9. Balloons: Never take part in balloon releases. Used balloons often end up in fields or the sea where animals can mistake them for food. Floating balloons look just like tasty jellyfish to sea birds and turtles. When throwing used balloons out with your household waste, cut them into tiny pieces.

For the sake of animals and the environment, recycle your rubbish

Remember the less rubbish you throw out, the better.

You can reduce your rubbish by not buying products which have a lot of unnecessary packaging and by making sure that any packaging or containers can be recycled.

Check to see what recycling facilities are available in your area. You may be easily able to recycle glass, paper, card, aluminium and steel cans and plastic. If these facilities are not available near where you live, contact your local county council and complain.

Disposing of your rubbish thoughtfully not only saves the lives of animals but it also helps to conserve the world’s natural resources.

This section is based on information published by the RSPCA.

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Foxes of Ireland – Co Leitrim

“I recently came across a family of young foxes and I brought my nephews to see such a wonderful occurrence of baby foxes in their natural habitat. There were five young baby foxes in healthy condition and we observed them, making sure not to disturb them.

“What made this more exciting for me was that my nephews, who were on holidays from New York, could not believe that they could get so close to such a wonderful wild animal. My nephew and I started taking photographs of these wonderful baby foxes playing over and over, and also we filmed the foxes playing. It was an experience that we won’t forget and hopefully others will get the opportunity to see something as wonderful as we did.

“All this took place near Dromod in County Leitrim. At the present time, foxes are thriving in this area but with all of the development going on all around me, this can’t last sadly. All photographs were taken by Ciaran Duignan from Long Island, Oceanside, New York, and also Patrick Duignan from Dromod, County Leitrim.”

Foxes of Ireland

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Foxes of Ireland – Co Tipperary

Two wild foxes in County Tipperary.
Photos by Clodagh Blake.

Foxes of Ireland

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Foxes of Ireland – Co Sligo

This photo of a running fox was taken on a hillside in Keash, Co Sligo. Photo by Peter Akokan

“I was walking up a hill and I saw this fox sitting under a bush, looking around. I quietly hid behind a hedge to try and get a good photo but as I did so, the fox had moved off out of sight. I assumed it had gone so I started walking on again. Then, suddenly, I saw the fox coming right in my direction. Of course, it was surprised to see me so it changed direction and ran across the field. It was then I took the photo.” Peter Akokan

Foxes of Ireland

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Foxes of Ireland – Co Roscommon

Most of the Foxwatch Ireland foxwatching activities have taken place in Roscommon’s beautiful Lough Key country. Below is a selection of the images captured there.
Photos by Peter Akokan and Philip Kiernan

One of the fox cubs rescued by Peter Akokan prepares to head out into the night to hunt for some food.

This seven- or eight-month-old fox came within three feet of us on a September foxwatch in Lough Key Forest Park.

A fox at the entrance to its earth. Directly after the photograph was taken, the fox darted below ground again.

An adult fox scavenging a deer which was killed on the road. The fox’s earth was relatively close to this spot and it kept coming back and forth to the roadkill, each time bringing some meat for the cubs.

Foxes of Ireland

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Foxes of Ireland – Co Meath

This dramatic photo shows a fox which was rescued in County Meath by an Irish Council Against Blood Sports volunteer. The fox was transferred to an animal sanctuary in Carrick-on-Shannon and is pictured here prior to release back to the wild.
Photo by Paul Croke

Foxes of Ireland

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