Friday, 4 August 2017

Indonesie Trip 2017 Day 13

Indonesia Trip Day 13 - Thursday 3rd August 2017

Sulawesi with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The first part of our 6 week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Sulawesi. Today we were in northern Sulawesi. 

On the morning of Thursday 2rd August 2017 we left the Patra Jasa Hotel in Kotamobagu at 4.00 am driving an hour and a half to bird at Max's trail and along the roadside. It was a quiet morning of birding.

We then drove half an hour for lunch and a rest in a local hotel, where we had rooms.

In the afternoon we birded  Tarout again from 3.30 pm to 5.30 pm to look for the Great-billed Kingfisher that Mum and Dad Missed  yesterday.


The best birds of the day were Sulawesi Cuckoo, Short-crested Miner.

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 12

Indonesia Trip Day 12 - Wednesday 2nd August 2017

Sulawesi with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The first part of our 6 week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Sulawesi. Today we were in northern Sulawesi.

On the morning of Wednesday 2nd August 2017 we left the Patra Jasa Hotel in Kotamobagu at 4.00 am driving an hour and a half to bird at Tarout from 5.30 am to 10.30 am. Here we had to get a raft over the the river to the birding site. Here the habitat has been reduced so much that if it continues within a year or two nothing will be left. There was a large research station here.

We then drove half an hour for lunch and a rest in a local hotel, where we had rooms.

In the afternoon we birded  Tower Marsh 4.00 pm to 5.30 pm.  The habitat here has been destroyed so there won't be any decent birding here within a year or two.

The best birds of the day were Pink-necked Green Pigeon, White-browed Crake, Dusky Moorhen, White-bellied Sea Eagle,
Sulewesi Dwarf Kingfisher, Minahasa Racquet-tail, Blue-backed Parrot, Pied Cuckoo-shrike and Great-billed Kingfisher which Mum and Dad both missed.


Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 11

Indonesia Trip Day 11 - Tuesday 1st August 2017

Sulawesi with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The first part of our 6 week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Sulawesi. Today we were 

On the morning of Tuesday 1st August 2017 we left the Patra Jasa Hotel in Kotamobagu at 4.30 am driving an hour and a half to Tambon to visit the Maleo Conservation  Centre.

Maleo is the national bird of Sulawesi and is a Megapode (a turkey). The centre was set up by a local conservationist called Max about 20 years ago. There is a natural hot spring at the site which the Maleo use to incubate their eggs.

The male and female dig a hole and bury their egg in the sand. The biggest predators are Monitor  Lizards and humans. So the centre dig up the eggs, incubate them in a safe place, look after the chicks before releasing them. As well as seeing a male in a tree, I held a egg that was being incubated, watched Max find a new egg and then got to release a chick. It was a fantastic experience, and another example of eco-tourism saving birds.

We then drove half an hour for lunch and a rest in a local hotel, where we had rooms.

In the afternoon we birded a trail that Max had found in Tapakolingtang.

The best birds of the day were White-faced Cuckoo Dove, Oberholser's Fruit Dove, Black-billed Koel, Sulawesi Serpent Eagle, Ruddy Kingfisher, Pygmy Hanging Parrot and ivory-backed Wood-Swallow.


Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 9 & 10

Indonesia Trip Day 9 & 10 - Sunday 30th July 2017 and Monday 31st July 2017

Sulawesi with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The first part of our 6 week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Sulawesi. 

On the morning of Sunday 30th July we left Sendy Guesthouse at 5.00 am to bird Lore Lindu National Park again. We birded until 10.30 am and then went back to the guest house for our bags and then head off for our flight after and early lunch at 12 pm.

We travelled to Palu, stopping by a bridge where we saw lots of Savannah Nightjar roosting as well as Red-Backed Buttonquail which we had seen before in Queensland Australia. It was ridiculously hot and so it wasn't a long stop.

It was Dad's birthday today as he's 2 days younger than Mum.

The best birds of the morning at Lore Lindu NP were Ashy Woodpecker, Rufous-winged Buzzard, Makassar Miner and Black-faced Munia.

We stayed at a very upmarket hotel in Palu, with a fancy glass surrounded shower. Mike arranged for a birthday cake for Mum and Dad, which was lovely of him.

The next day, Monday 31st July was a travel day. We met at 3.45 am with our bags, to catch a flight from Palu back down to Makassar, then another flight to Manado in the north of the Island.  We spent our time at Makassar Airport sitting in Starbucks, using their wifi with a big box of Dunkin' Donuts for me!

As we flew into Manado airport, it was shocking to see how much of the land was destroyed and now Covered in palm oil.


Once in Manado, we had a 5 hour drive to Kotamobagu, where we're were staying for four nights at the Patra Jasa Hotel. Its main benefits were western toilet, warm shower, air conditioning and most importantly working (sort of) wifi.

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 8

Indonesia Trip Day 8 - Saturday 29th July 2017

Sulawesi with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The first part of our 6 week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Sulawesi. 

On the morning of Saturday 29th July we left Sendy Guesthouse at 5.00 am to bird Lore Lindu National Park again. We birded until 11.30 am and the went back to the guest house for lunch and a rest during the heat of the day. We were meant to go out again at 3.30 pm but couldn't go out because of a torrential downpour until 4.30 pm.

We stayed out to see Great-eared Nightjar and go back for 6.00 pm.


The best birds of the day were Sulawesi and Spot-tailed Goshawk, Maroon-Backed Whistler, Scaly-Kingfisher and Crimson-crowned Flowerpecker.

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 7

Indonesia Trip Day 7 - Friday 28th July 2017

Sulawesi with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The first part of our 6 week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Sulawesi. 

In the morning of Friday 28th July we left Sendy Guesthouse to bird the world famous Lora Lindu National Park in the mountains. 

It was Mum's birthday. We were up at 3.15 am to meet at 4 am. We were at the Anasso Trail. We hiked up the mountainside to try and be in place for the endemic G, but things were stacked up against us. Firstly, a couple of guys went past on a motorbike (probably up to no good), then there was a lot of water around, meaning it would not need  to come to the path to grub for worms. We had an amazing days birding with loads of new birds including a whopping 7 Satanic Nightjar, what a fantastic name. 

We birded from the road and saw the stunning Purple-bearded Bee-eater, my 4500th bird in the world. 

We then did more owling seeing Sulawesi Masked Owl, Speckled and Cinnebar Boobok.

Next day and a half we carried on birding Lori Lindu NP, seeing 

On 30th July, it was Dad's birthday with a few new birds for Dad.  We birder the mountain in the morning and stopped enroute on the way back to  Palu including Makassar Miner and Savannah Nightjar. Palu is the biggest city in Central Sulawesi and is right on the sea with a population of 200,000.


Tomorrow we fly via Makassar to Milando, with no birding planned.

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 6

Indonesia Trip Day 6 - Thursday 27th July 2017

Sulawesi with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The first part of our 6 week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Sulawesi. 

In the morning of Thursday 27th July we left Sendy Guesthouse to bird the world famous Lora Lindu National Park in the mountains. 

It was our first morning at Lore Lindu and we had a late 5am start. It was a 40 minute drive, for some extra sleep. We had breakfast (of Nutella chocolate sandwiches for me) in the car park of the national park centre before walking in the area of a lake. Here there were a couple of Indonesian young birders camping with their wives, who Idris, our local guide, gave some gen to. That was encouraging to see.

We spent the day birding the roads and trails before night birding at the lodge. seeing a Sulawesi Scops Owl which had kept us awake the previous night.

Some of the birds of the day were Red-eared Fruit Dove, Small Sparrowhawk, Black Eagle, Meyer's Lorikeets and Hoevell's Warbling-Flycatcher.

After dinner and the bird list, we were in bed by 9.30 pm, as we had a long day the next day.


There had been an earthquake in that part of Indonesia just 2 weeks before. The school and village centre was destroyed and the lodge restaurant went from being on stilts to being a ground floor building. 

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 5

Indonesia Trip Day 5 - Wednesday 26th July 2017

Sulawesi with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The first part of our 6 week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Sulawesi. 

In the morning of Wednesday 26th July we left the hotel in Makassar at 5 am and birded at Makassar fish ponds. It's was interesting to see the modern factories with traditional stilt houses next door. Here we saw Javan Plover, Wandering Whistling-duck, Sunda Teal, Buff-banded Rail and Far Eastern Curlew.

We were then back to the hotel to grab our bags and get to the airport. There we went straight to a restaurant where again lunch was waiting whilst Mike and team went to check in our bags.

Our 1.30 pm flight to Palu in Central Sulawesi was delayed by an hour, so Mum and I got another power nap in whilst we waited.


After arriving in Palu mid afternoon we had a 4 hour drive to the tiny village of Waesa, where we had 4 nights at Sendy Guesthouse to bird the world famous Lora Lindu National Park in the mountains. 

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 4

Indonesia Trip Day 4 - Tuesday 25th July 2017

Sulawesi with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The first part of our 6 week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Sulawesi. 

The morning of Tuesday 25th July we started out at 4.30 am from the town of Malino and headed for the Lompobattang mountains. Here we saw Lompobattang Flycatcher,  Lompobattang Leaf Warbler, Red-eared Fruit Dove, Hylocitrea, Sulawesi  Thrush, Sulawesi Heleia, Sulawesi Fanrail and Lesser Myza.

In the afternoon we headed back to Makassar and stayed in the same plush hotel, Makassar Dalton, enjoying the western  loo and shower. Luxury!


We had dinner in the hotel, before bird list and another early night.

Indonesia Trip 2017 Day 3

Indonesia Trip Day 3 - Monday 24th July 2017

Sulawesi with Mike Nelson from Bird Tour Asia.

The first part of our 6 week Indonesian trip was birding the island of Sulawesi. We started our trip from the southern city of Makassar.

Our first day of birding on Monday 24th July was a 4 am start. We spent the morning birding along the roadside, into limestone karst forest at Karaenta. The key target we saw here was the very localised endemic Black-Ringed White-eye as well at Sulawesi Hornbill, Piping Crow, White-necked Myna.

We then birded around some shops along the road but dipped the recently described endemic Sulawesi Brown Flycatcher, the only opportunity on our trip to see this. We did see an endemic macaque.

We stopped for lunch in Makassar at a roadside restaurant where our delicious Indonesian meal was ready and waiting for us.

It was then a 3 hour drive to the town of Malino, in the mountains east of Makassar where we arrived at 4pm. We had the afternoon chatting and then went for dinner st a local restaurant. After the birdlist, we got an early night. The bathroom had a stand up loo and buckets in a tiny area, so I decided to pass on the bathing.

The next morning on Tuesday 25th July we started out at 4.30 am and headed for the Lompobattang mountains. Here we saw Lompobattang Flycatcher,  Lompobattang Leaf Warbler, Red-eared Fruit Dove, Hylocitrea, Sulawesi  Thrush, Sulawesi Heleia, Sulawesi Fanrail and Lesser Myza.

In the afternoon we headed back to Makassar and stayed in the same plush hotel, Makassar Dalton, enjoying the western  loo and shower. Luxury!

We had dinner in the hotel, before bird list and another early night.

In the morning, Wednesday 26th July we left the hotel at 5 am and birded at Makassar fish ponds. It's was interesting to see the modern factories with traditional stilt houses next door. Here we saw Javan Plover, Wandering Whistling-duck, Sunda Teal, Buff-banded Rail and Far Eastern Curlew.

We were then back to the hotel to grab our bags and get to the airport. There we went straight to a restaurant where again lunch was waiting whilst Mike and team went to check in our bags.

Our 1.30 pm flight to Palu in Central Sulawesi was delayed by an hour, so Mum and I got another power nap in whilst we waited.

After arriving in Palu mid afternoon we had a 4 hour drive to the tiny village of Waesa, where we had 4 nights at Sendy Guesthouse to bird the world famous Lora Lindu National Park in the mountains. 

The first morning at Lore Lindu on Thursday 27th July we had a late 5am start. It was a 40 minute drive, for some extra sleep. We had breakfast (of Nutella chocolate sandwiches for me) in the car park of the national park centre before walking in the area of a lake. Here there were a couple of Indonesian young birders camping with their wives, who Idris, our local guide, gave some gen to. That was encouraging to see.

We spent the day birding the roads and trails before night birding at the lodge.

Some of the birds of the day were 

After dinner and the bird list, we were in bed by 9.30 pm, as we had a long day the next day.

There had been an earthquake in that part of Indonesia just 2 weeks before. The school and village centre was distorted and the lodge restaurant went from being on stilts to being a ground floor building. 

On Friday 28th July it was Mum's birthday. We were up at 3.15 am to meet at 4 am. We were at the Anasso Trail. We hiked up the mountainside to try and be in place for the endemic G, but things were stacked up against us. Firstly, a couple of guys went past on a motorbike (probably up to no good), then there was a lot of water around, meaning it would not need  to come to the path to grub for worms. We had an amazing days birding with loads of new birds including a whopping 7 Satanic Nightjar, what a fantastic name. 

We birded from the road and saw the stunning Purple-bearded Bee-eater, my 4500th bird in the world. 

We then did more owling seeing Sulawesi Masked Owl and Cinnebar Bubbok.

Next day and a half we carried on birding Lori Lindu NP, seeing 

On 30th July, it was Dad's birthday with a few new birds for Dad.  We birder the mountain in the morning and stopped enroute on the way back to  Palu including Makassar Miner and Savannah Nightjar. Palu is the biggest city in Central Sulawesi and is right on the sea with a population of 200,000.


Tomorrow we fly via Makassar to Milando, with no birding planned.

Indonesia Trip 2017 days 1 & 2

Indonesia Trip Day 1 & 2

Saturday 22 July 2017 to Sunday 23 July 2017

I finished school early at 12.15 pm on Friday 31st July 2017 and went to Chew Valley Lake picnic site to have fish and chips (or just chips for me) at Salt and Malt with my mates. We then walked to a friends' house in Bishop Sutton before Mum picked us up and took us to do the car parking for Miles Leonard's Fifty Fest. Miles is the Chief Exec of Parlaphone Records and Warner Bros Records and owns our local pub, The Ring O' Bells. I did it with a group of friends as a favour as I still hadn't packed. It was 11pm before I got home, when I chucked my laptop, IPad, Kindle and phone into a bag with chargers and one novel, The Handmaiden's Tale which I'd borrowed from school and 2 revision guides, one for Biology and one for Latin. Lets just hope Mum has packed enough clothes for me! I've decided to go make-up and product free for our entire 6 week trip.

Ayesha arrived at Midnight, just as I was heading to bed. We were up again at 3 am, so that Ayesha could drive us to Bristol for our 4.30 am coach to London.

After checking in, breakfast and boarding our flight, we were almost in the Indonesia zone. After watching two films, I was flat out lying over two seats thanks to my Mum. Our plane sat on the runway for an hour and a half at Heathrow, making it unlikely that we would make our connecting flight at Kuala Lumpa (KL).

When we arrived in KL, we had an hour until our next flight, so there wasn't much chance of getting onto that, and no chance of out bags getting on, we thought. But we were in luck, as we got off flight, our next flight was literally boarding at the gate next door and a lovely man told us that our bags were already on board.

It was a 3-4 hour flight from KL to Denpasar, Bali in Indonesia. Then we had a day of waiting for our next flight. The seats in the airport were uncomfortable, so Mum and I slept on the floor, with no shame, whilst we waited.

Mum went to buy water, but would only let me buy one bottle between all of us which she thought had cost £5.00. I told her that surely she had the decimal place in the wrong place because i doubted that Pringles could cost £16.00. But no, Mum is always right. Back talking to Dad, it turned out that the bottle had cost 50p not £5.00, but there was no time now to get any more drinks.

Our next flight was to Makassar, Sulawesi on the southern tip of the Island.

We were met by a local guide and driver at 7.00 pm and taken to our rather plush hotel which was next to the airport. After dumping our bags, we headed for dinner. Mike Nelson our Bird Tour Asia Guide came to greet us and catch up. 

Bird Tour Asia are the top bird tour company in Asia and have the most amazing owner guides, Rob Hutchinson and James Eaton. In 2014 we had birded Sabah in Borneo and a bit of Malaysia. Rob had been touring Borneo a week ahead of us and had been really generous with his up to date birding gen.

Myself and Mum had met Mike in Frasers' Hill briefly during that trip. Dad had been in West Papua and so Mum  and I had gone to Frasers' Hill on the Malaysian Peninsular. We bumped into Mike with Richard Schofield and his partner Di. We had met Richard in Colombia (a well known Tour Leader with Birdquest before retiring). It was funny because Di had immediately recognised me from the BBC4 programme "Twitchers: A Very British Obsession". We had been having a nightmare with a hopeless local guide and so Mike gave us some birding gen and tips.

Mike said that when he had agreed to guide us for the whole summer back in Jan 2015, he had remembered meeting me and Mum the previous summer.

There were 3 people joining us for the first part of our trip, which was Sulawesi and Halmahera. They were Nick and Claire and Tony. We had met them on the Isles of Scilly and also Dad had met them at the Amur Falcon twitch in Cornwall last week. Their flight was arriving at 11pm and so they were going to be exhausted when we meet at 4 am tomorrow morning, Monday 24 July 2017, for the start of our birding tour.





Friday, 30 June 2017

Cultures of Nature and Wellbeing Conference with Bristol Festival of Nature on 13 June 2017

On Tuesday 13 June 2017 at the Watershed in Bristol, I was a speaker in a panel at a one-day conference organised by Bath Spa University with The Bristol Festival of Nature.

I spoke about Camp Avalon, Race Equality in Nature Conference, Black2Nature and encouraging Black Asian Minority Ethnic people out into nature and engaging.

Afterwards, we answered questions as a panel which was the first time I had done that formally, which I really enjoyed.

This is their blog post about the event http://bit.ly/2sZbuvf

It was really amzing to get so much positive feedback and someone approached my mum a couple of days later at an event to hear that my talk was spot on and in their opinion the best of the day!


Young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Watershed
Copyright Mya-Rose Craig



About the Author

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in Antarctica
Photograph copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



Mya-Rose Craig is a 15-year-old young British Bangladeshi birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She loved seeing Mountain Gorillas in East Africa and Penguins in Antarctica over Christmas 2015, her 7th continent.

Mya-Rose was a Bristol European Green Capital Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Simon King, Miranda Krestovnikoff and Shaun the Sheep! See the full list of Bristol Ambassadors. She has also been listed with the singer-songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people
She is an Ambassador for World Shorebirds Day, See It Her Way and a Charter Champion for The Charter for Woods, Trees and People. She organised a conference, Race Equality in Nature, in June 2016 aiming to increase the ethnic diversity in nature and plans to run her third Camp Avalon camp in 2017. She has also set up Black2Nature with the aim of working with organisations to increase the access to nature of Black Asian Minority Ethnic people. Please connect with her on LinkedIn (Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig) so that she can invite you to join the Race Equality in Nature LinkedIn Group and be part of the change. She has been awarded the Bath and West Show Environmental Youth Award 2017 for Bristol for her Black2Nature work EYA 2017Please also like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter.









Saturday, 10 June 2017

Film-making Workshop using the outdoors



Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig's Camp Avalon 15



Birdigirl Mya-Rose Craig filming for BBC4


I have organised with Black2Nature, in partnership with BBC Natural History Unit, Icon Films and young film-maker Paul Collins an exciting film-making workshop with the focus on group work and outdoor filming. It is aimed at young people aged 11 years - 19 years with priority to those living in areas of deprivation or of a minority ethnic background. The event takes part at Eastville Park in inner city Bristol on 21st June 2017, 4.30 pm to 7.30pm.


BirdigirlMya-Rose Craig filming for BBC4

We will cover:

(1) Discussion: What makes a good story?
(2) Discussion: What is the story? - Subject, Setting, Behaviour 
(3) In Groups: What is the story? - choose a subject; a story with a beginning/middle/end; interesting behaviour.
(4) Discussion: Storyboarding - i.e. how to tell the story visually... Basics of composition; shot sizes (close-up v wide) and what these mean for the story.
(5) In Groups: Storyboarding - drawing a sequence; understanding what shots they need to get to tell the story; thinking about story structure.
Once each group has a storyboard, given instruction on how to use the camcorders and filming in groups.
Review of filming and instructions for home editing task.

All participants will receive a certificate for the workshop. It is hoped that the workshop will help young people from less affluent backgrounds to get started on a career in nature film-making as well as sparking and interest in the outdoors. Bristol makes 80% of the world's nature and wildlife films.


BirdigirlMya-Rose Craig filming for BBC4


About the Author

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in Antarctica
Photograph copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Mya-Rose Craig is a 15-year-old young British Bangladeshi birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She loved seeing Mountain Gorillas in East Africa and Penguins in Antarctica over Christmas 2015, her 7th continent.

Mya-Rose was a Bristol European Green Capital Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Simon King, Miranda Krestovnikoff and Shaun the Sheep! See the full list of Bristol Ambassadors. She has also been listed with the singer-songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people
She is an Ambassador for World Shorebirds Day, See It Her Way and a Charter Champion for The Charter for Woods, Trees and People. She organised a conference, Race Equality in Nature, in June 2016 aiming to increase the ethnic diversity in nature and plans to run her third Camp Avalon camp in 2017. She has also set up Black2Nature with the aim of working with organisations to increase the access to nature of Black Asian Minority Ethnic people. Please connect with her on LinkedIn (Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig) so that she can invite you to join the Race Equality in Nature LinkedIn Group and be part of the change. She has been awarded the Bath and West Show Environmental Youth Award 2017 for Bristol for her Black2Nature work EYA 2017Please also like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter.



















Sunday, 21 May 2017

Vote NO to Conservatives bringing back barbaric hunting with dogs


I am sure you are aware that we have a general election on 6 June 2017. Teresa May has announced that if she forms the next government she will have a free vote on bringing back hunting with dogs. This would make it legal again to not just chase foxes, hare, deer and other animals with packs of dogs until the petrified animals are completely exhausted but to then set packs of dogs onto them, which are trained to rip the live animals apart. 


Fox killed by hounds


My message to those MP's who think that hunting with dogs will be supported, think again:


Come Members of Parliament
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall 

For he that gets hurt 

Will be he who has stalled 
There's a battle outside 
And it is ragin'.

This is an extract from my July 2015 letter to my Conservative MP, Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg - No more hunting with dogs, which still appies now http://bit.ly/1JaJS25






"Dear Mr Rees-Mogg"

"In relation to our meeting, you told me that you supported foxes being killed by hunting with dogs for the following reasons:

That the Burns Report into hunting with dogs, which came out before the Hunting with Dogs Act was brought  in, was inconclusive on the issue of whether when a fox is being chased by dogs it understands fear above a flight or fight instinct.  That based on this report, you could not say that chasing a fox with dogs was cruel. I have looked at the report.  It found that “death was not always affected by a single bite to the neck or shoulders by the leading hound”, which was not what you thought.  It also said that it was satisfied that “this experience seriously compromises the welfare of the fox”.  The report also stated that lamping, the use of torches and rifles at night “had the fewer adverse welfare implications”.

You stated that fox numbers had to be kept under control as they killed farmers’ chickens and lambs, saying that there were four methods for killing foxes:

  • Poison – this was a risky method as other animals might eat the poison and the fox would die slowly in its den.
  • Trapping – this was a cruel way of killing.  I completely agree with you here but why is using traps still legal?
  • Shooting – that the marksman had to be extremely good to be able to shoot a fast running fox and hit it on target, killing it in one shot.  That you needed to be an accurate shot otherwise the fox would die a slow death.  However, farmers are able to employ excellent marksmen to kill foxes for them.  I think that people should need licences to shoot animals based on shooting ability.  Shooting happens at night when foxes are active.  Lamping, with the use of a spotlight can be used on a fox, freezing them, so that they can be shot easily.  This was demonstrated on a recent BBC programme on foxes.  The Burns report said that this was the quickest and most humane method of killing wild animals.
  • Hunting with dogs – you said that if you disregard the chase, the fox was killed very quickly by the dogs  with a bite to the neck and were only ripped apart after they were already dead.  You said that this method was quick and always certain.  However, prior to the hunting with Dogs Act being passed, scientific research was carried out on dead foxes by vets doing autopsies.  This is set out in the following article http://linkis.com/1GUKO with the conclusion being that trauma was found in the animals before death and that the death was not quick. Post-mortems showed no evidence that foxes are killed by a 'quick nip to the back of the neck' and found that in many cases foxes are disemboweled first. 

I then asked you if there was a fox in the area of a farm did you think the farmer was entitled to kill the fox straight away or should the farmer wait and see if anything was killed by the fox?

You said that we were talking about a wild animal with wild instincts.  If a fox with lambs then it would try to kill the animal as it is wild, it needed food for its cubs and so if a farmer saw a fox in his field, he would have to kill it. You also said that with the rise of free range chickens, these were at higher risk to being killed by foxes.  However, the statistics show that only 1% of lambs that died were killed by foxes.  Foxes are scavengers and so they are far more likely to take a dead lamb then kill one.  Based on the statistics, the risk to lambs from foxes is tiny. In relation to chickens, there is quite a lot that can be done to protect them like high electricity fences buried underground.  At most times of year foxes kill at night and so chickens should be locked securely away even if free ranging.

At our meeting, I talked to you about a recent case where 16 fox cubs were being reared by a hunt.   I made the point that case proved that rather than having high numbers and needing to be controlled, that there were actually low fox numbers and too few even to be hunted.  You said that you would absolutely condemn any hunt rearing cubs for hunting.  This is good to know, as it something that seems to have been uncovered quite a few times before. The same article reported that The International Fund for Animal Welfare had discovered that the Royal Beaufort Hunt - used by Prince Charles, his sons and Princess Anne – had been filmed rearing fox cubs for hunting.   There have been many cases of this over the years since.

When we discussed whether it was democratic for you to vote for repeal that 80% of your constituents oppose.   You said that when  you stood for election, you set out a number of policies that you stood for and that people voted for that package and so you had the mandate to vote for the issues that you had told voters about.  However, I think that most people who voted for you voted for Conservative Party economic policies, especially on the economy/NHS/Schools etc.  I think you would agree (based on what you said at our meeting) that almost no one would have voted for you because of your policy on Hunting with Dogs.  As our MP, you represent the all people living in your constituency.  80% of them oppose hunting with dogs and therefore I think that it would be wrong for you to vote for something that 80% of your constituents oppose. 

I hope you will reconsider your view based on the scientific evidence and the fact that the most humane way to kill a problematic fox is to shoot it at night using a spotlight.

Yours sincerely

Mya-Rose Craig"


David Cameron MP with a hunt

Fox hunting is something I despise.  Jacob Rees-Mogg is in  favour of bringing back hunting with dogs and so I went to see him back in 2015, heard his arguments (the same as he raised at the recent Ubley hustings where my mum asked the candidates on my behalf whether they would vote to bring back hunting with dogs), did my research, wrote explaining why his arguments sucked (above) and then did a video message to him two days before a vote was due in the House of Commons (with was withdrawn as the government knew they would lose.  I never had a full letter from him in relation to the research on this issue.

The polls shows that 84% of the UK population both in the oppose hunting with dogs of foxes,   88% are against hunting deer adn 91% are against hunting hares. So what about the countryside, well 82% are against in rural areas like where I live and even 72% of actual Tory voters age against. So why would Teresa May prioritse such a vote and say that MP's will have a free vote, with important issues like Brexit to deal with (http://bit.ly/2qa5NUW)? For the same reason that tax has been reduced for the richest in this country (http://bit.ly/2r6TtK4) during times of "austerity". Our Conservative Government have prioritised helping their rich and elite friends and relatives, rather than serving the needs of the majority of the population. Watch this video with the facts http://bit.ly/2rRhwIY.

Mr Rees-Mogg told me that his stance on bringing back hunting with dogs was clear and so by voting for him, people within his constituency were giving him a clear mandate to vote for the return of hunting with dogs. Please do not vote for anyone who pledges to bring back hunting with dogs. If you live in my area, please do not vote for Jacob Rees-Mogg. Please do not give him a mandate by voting for another candidate.


These are my blog posts against hunting with dogs


No More Hunting with Dogs Part 1 http://bit.ly/1f5sIvj
No More Hunting with Dogs Part 2 http://bit.ly/1IAm4H0
No More Hunting with Dogs Part 3 http://bit.ly/1KP3XQf
Meeting with my conservative MP http://bit.ly/1K0ADUZ
Letter to Mr Rees-Mogg MP - http://bit.ly/1JaJS25
To Mr Rees-Mogg - I am fox video http://bit.ly/1I1E0NW

I believe that anyone who supports hunting with dogs has an inner cruelness and nastiness that must not to be acceptable in our civilised society. Cruelty towards animals is only one step away from cruelty toward humans. The inhumanity that the conservative government has shown to the poorest and most disabled people in this country as well as to refugees, to me, shows that clear link.

I know that some people say that they grew up horse riding and hunting with dogs is part of that tradition. I do not accept the argument of 'tradition" on many levels. First, my friends and I have grown up riding on the Mendips, without hunting with dogs. The two do not have to be linked. Secondly, just because something has been done for years, it does not make it alright to continue. My grandfather grew up in rural Bangladesh shooting migratory birds. He did  not understand the conservation issues and the birds seemed plentiful back then. Now the birds are almost gone and people in his village understand that they can not carry on shooting birds, otherwise they will disappear completely.

Many people in this country are opposed to bull-fighting in Spain. Those who take part in it, say it is a tradition that they should be allowed to continue. Six million people have signed a petitition to stop the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China where dogs are beaten, tortured, skinned and also boiled alive as the meat is considered to be tastier if the dog is petrified at the time of death. Should they be allowed to carry on? Just because you have been doing something a long time, doesn't mean you should continue. Otherwise we would never have change; why shouldn't we go back to the Victorian tradition of sending tiny children up chimneys? My brother-in-law is a chimney sweep so maybe he should be allowed to send my 4 year old nephew Lucas up chimneys to do the dirty work for him?



About the Author

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in Antarctica
Photograph copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Mya-Rose Craig is a 15-year-old young British Bangladeshi birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She loved seeing Mountain Gorillas in East Africa and Penguins in Antarctica over Christmas 2015, her 7th continent.

Mya-Rose was a Bristol European Green Capital Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Simon King, Miranda Krestovnikoff and Shaun the Sheep! See the full list of Bristol Ambassadors. She has also been listed with the singer-songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people
She is an Ambassador for World Shorebirds Day, See It Her Way and a Charter Champion for The Charter for Woods, Trees and People. She organised a conference, Race Equality in Nature, in June 2016 aiming to increase the ethnic diversity in nature and plans to run her third Camp Avalon camp in 2017. She has also set up Black2Nature with the aim of working with organisations to increase the access to nature of Black Asian Minority Ethnic people. Please connect with her on LinkedIn (Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig) so that she can invite you to join the Race Equality in Nature LinkedIn Group and be part of the change. She has been awarded the Bath and West Show Environmental Youth Award 2017 for Bristol for her Black2Nature work EYA 2017Please also like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter.