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North Wales Aesculapians

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Wolfgang Wuster View Drop Down
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    Posted: 04 Feb 2013 at 12:13pm
Quick questions: how many people here have come to North Wales primarily to look for Aesculapian snakes in Colwyn Bay? There is some discussion about eradication, and I am just interested in the potential economic benefits of the species being here.

Thanks!
Wolfgang Wüster

School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor

http://pages.bangor.ac.uk/~bss166/
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will View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Feb 2013 at 6:30am
Hi Wolfgang, I certainly would if I didnt have some on my doorstep in London :)  In all seriousness, why would anyone have a crack at getting rid of these ones, which have been living out their lives eating rats in N Wales since before the Wildlife and Countryside Act back in the 1970s??  Oh, I can guess - could it be because they COULD feasibly be eradicated, and therefore a box could be ticked, rather than for any ecological justification... 
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Wolfgang Wuster View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wolfgang Wuster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Feb 2013 at 6:52am
Cynicism: the triumph of experience over hope
Wolfgang Wüster

School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor

http://pages.bangor.ac.uk/~bss166/
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will View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Feb 2013 at 11:16am
LOL - in this case, I hope my cynicism is misplaced...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Noodles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Feb 2013 at 12:00pm
I would definitely visit if i knew the site location, since i'm not far from it. However, my typical contribution to any local economy would be the purchase of a can of Red Bull (small), a packet of crisps (not the grab bag size) and maybe a tank (more likely half) of petrol if you're lucky.

Incidentally, is there any predicted population expansion or inter-species threat from the colony.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wolfgang Wuster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Feb 2013 at 3:56pm
No expansion or threat known. They have been living quietly in Colwyn Bay for the last 40 years. Even if they did spread, I don't see what damage they would cause - they eat primarily small rodents and shrews, and live in different habitats than native rodent-eating snakes. Moreover, being a Central European snake, they interact with the same species in their native range as they are likely to encounter in the UK, so I really don't see any potential for problems.

Unfortunately some people outside Wales do see them as a target for eradication, quite possibly for the reasons Will mentioned, and are trying to get this on the agenda.
Wolfgang Wüster

School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor

http://pages.bangor.ac.uk/~bss166/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Noodles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Feb 2013 at 11:02am
Just out of interest how do 'they' propose such an eradication scheme? It sounds like a highly specialised job to me; tracking down and killing a cryptic animal that exploits a food source that can't be cut off or contaminated with poisons, and an animal that presumably exists in protected habitats that can't be sterilized anyway, or is the population so localised that these are not issues? 

Sound nuts even contemplating this to me; a waste of time, life and  money! 
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will View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Feb 2013 at 12:21pm
...but on the plus side, some beaurocrat somewhere can put a nice big tick in the eradication box.   While grey squirrels etc continue their inexorable progress across the UK (unless the resurgent pine martens get them, that is Approve)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Feb 2013 at 12:43pm
Can 'they', as in those that propose eradication be identified?

I would welcome 'them' coming on the forum to explain why eradicating this species from the wild should even be considered. 

It should make an interesting discussion considering the considerable expertise on this thread and the point already raised that the snakes are very unlikely to pose any form of threat to native wildlife at all.
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Wolfgang Wuster View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wolfgang Wuster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Feb 2013 at 1:02pm
There are meetings coming up on this, so this would not be a good time to burn bridges. If there is no reasoning with them, then I will certainly flag their identity up here!
Wolfgang Wüster

School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor

http://pages.bangor.ac.uk/~bss166/
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