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Archive for the ‘Environmental & Green News’ Category

Thanks to the Daily Mail for this fascinating article, 1st December 2014

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Old Macdonald is a very well read man (OK, well red when upset actually) but found this in the Daily Mail whilst studying Arsenal’s latest triumph.23862C6800000578-2855416-image-54_1417394410565

They’re bears all right, and they come from darkest Peru — but they’re very seldom found on Paddington Station wearing a luggage label that says: ‘Please look after this bear. Thank you.’
Spectacled bears seem to be specially equipped for hard stares of the kind that Aunt Lucy taught Paddington — the children’s favourite, based on them, who’s now a movie superstar. Their eyes tend to be surrounded by pale or gingerish markings that exaggerate the facial expression.
These marks vary — you can tell one individual bear from another once you get to know them — and they often take the appearance of lavish spectacles, so they look like a bearish Elton John or Edna Everage.
They’re the only species of bear in South America, and they’re found all over the Andes wherever wild places have been allowed to remain: a range that goes from Peru to Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and (just) into Argentina.
The corner that links Colombia, Ecuador and Peru is where the best habitat remains. And the best bears.
When Michael Bond wrote the first Paddington stories, he had Paddington stowing away from darkest Africa. On learning there are no bears in Africa, he shifted the action to darkest Peru and put Paddington’s Aunt Lucy — his only known relative other than an uncle who gave him his hat — in a Home for Retired Bears in Lima, from where she shipped Paddington to England.
What Bond would not have known is that, today, Peru’s real-life Paddingtons are in danger. Spectacled bears have been classified as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Hunters, poachers and habitat destruction mean their population has fallen to 3,000 from 20,000 or so just a few decades ago.
Which is a sad thing, for they are bears as eccentric as Paddington himself. They’re much more Teddy-like in appearance than the great bears from the north of our planet.


Support Red November along with Old Macdonald

Saturday, October 18th, 2014



As you all know, Old Macdonald’s Farm is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and this year we are joining with the other 103 members, ranging from ZSL London Zoo to Battersea Park Zoo, and from Ireland through the Isles of White and of Mann, through Scotland and right across England. to recognise the dangers in which many species are placed.

Mammals. reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects, there are listed creatures in all of these catagories and from all around the world and we will feature four of the least well known but still important ones in the next three weeks, leading up to a special Red Weekend in November when on the weekend of 8th and 9th November all children wearing red can enter free of charge!

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Delighted to support Janet Duke Primary’s eco initiative.

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Whilst the Education World mourns the loss of Michael Gove as Secretary of State (well, someone must be sorry) we at Old Macdonald’s Farm ponder on the type of education that excites children and encourages them to take a wide view of the world and prepare for the future. Just taking SATS and sciences does not broaden the mind and when Old Macdonald ponders the many changes in his long, and not so illustious, life he thinks that what children need perhaps more than “learning” is the ability and passion to keep learning all through their lives. And of course he believes they need to have a passion for conservation, the environment and of course the natural world.

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That was why, earlier this year, he was entranced by the email below:

“My name is Laura Retigan and I am the Eco Schools co-ordinator at Janet Duke Primary School. Three years ago we started introducing animals to our school to help give the children a sense of responsibility and enjoyment as well as enhancing the eco and science curriculum. We now have 13 chickens, 7 guinea pigs, 8 rabbits and 2 tortoises. We have rescued all of our rabbits and tortoises.

I have a small group of children called the eco captains who are the main caregivers to the animals and give up every break and lunchtime to feed, water, clean out and care for the animals. They have learnt a lot about the diet of the animals and how best to care for them. The children have also taken part in a daytime ITV programme called Auf Weidersehen My Pet which was a rehoming programme. The children really impressed the crew and a small animal advisor from Wood Green animal sanctuary which resulted in the owner of four guinea pigs choosing to rehome her pets at our school.

The majority of the Eco Captains are in Year 6 and only have a term until they go to secondary school. They have worked tirelessly since they were in year 4 with the animals and I would really like to arrange a special treat for them before they leave. I was wondering whether it would be possible to arrange for the children to come to Old Macdonald’s Farm to shadow a worker for a day or part of a day? They would really enjoy this experience but I also think it would be beneficial for them as some of the children have expressed an interest in working with animals when they are older. They can also bring back anything they learn and implement it with their own animals at school.”

Now how could he say no? Well, easily really as he can be a miserable whatsit from time to time, but he most certainly did not and therefore on 17th June the Eco Captains came and with the superb help as always of our volunteers Natasha and Daniel we took them away from the rabbits and into the pigs, the owls and even the Meerkat enclosure. They were a wonderful group and we hope they all come with their families to visit us again, and that Janet Duke school and their imaginative staff and superb pupils come again next year!

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If your school wants to visit the farm for a special day out, just let us know!



Crisis looms for European Vultures

Monday, March 10th, 2014



Old Macdonald’s Farm ask all of you reading this website to help us, and our colleagues in other Zoos, to protect the important European Vulture. Vultures are an important part of the eco system and have a vital role in keeping areas clean. They are part of the world around us.

We would like to draw your attention to the recent news that Diclofenac (the same anti-inflammatory drug that has wiped out vulture populations in India, Pakistan and Nepal) has been authorised for use on domestic animals in Italy and in Spain, home to 80% of European vultures, and is now becoming widely available on the EU market.  This not only poses a serious risk of a mass die off of endangered and ecologically valuable European wildlife, but is a terrible message to be sending to those countries who have made such huge advocacy efforts to ban it in recent years.


We would therefore strongly encourage you to consider signing the following petition:

Environment hits the headlines

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Regular readers of this website¸ should there actually be any such people out there, will be aware that Old Macdonald’s main passion is the environment and conservation. Well, that is two passions so Old Macdonald’s main passions are the environment and conservation as well as giving you his visitors a great day out. So that is three, plus of course his money which would probably be top of the list if I was to be honest, so let us start again. Amongst Old Macdonald’s main passions are the environment and conservation, and this February both have been hitting the headlines.

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The extreme weather from which all of us are suffering to one level or another is considered by those who really understand these things to be a forewarning of the impact of climate change, and of course humankind has contributed to the forces that lead to this. Carbon Dioxide emissions continue to rise, the rainforests that used to soak up CO2 are disappearing, and the Ozone level is decreasing year on year. A united and world wide effort to act sustainably, and stop using irreplaceable resources, is needed and loss of animal habitat is not something for other countries but also has an impact in Britain too.


Why is the loss of species important to us all? Because any change in the balance of nature will come back and smack us on the nose! Everything is linked and therefore everyone, including visitors to Old Macdonald’s Farm, should act responsibly and cut down energy use and recycle what you can. Our only hope is the children and that they will rescue the world from the mess all of us, including Old Mac, have made for years.


The second key issue was the important London Conference on the Illegal Wild Life Trade on February 13th and 14th. Representatives from 60 countries came and signed up to a hard hitting declaration to stop the illegal trade in Ivory, Rhino horn and tiger parts (can you believe that people buy and consume bits of tigers in the 21st century?)

 Again, this is not just something for other people in different countries to deal with. Everyone should be involved in campaigning to stop this illegal and immoral trade. British companies are still assisting in this trade and Rhino horns have been stolen from British museums to sell overseas. Do not buy animal based products and look at those countries that still deal in them and ask should you buy their goods?


This is not SEP (someone else’s problem) it is yours too. Deal with it, and then future generations will have a world in which they can live in safety, tranquillity, and alongside these marvellous creatures who deserve a natural life too.