Thursday, 8 May 2014

Dog Walking at Parc Slip

We love to use this blog to share with you updates on the nature reserve, your photos and facts about the wildlife. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to let you know about some of the less pleasant aspects of managing the nature reserve! Apologies in advance for some of the photos in this blog entry…

One of the main issues we have on the nature reserve, as some of you may know, is the amount of dog mess that is left on the paths here. The good news is that despite the increase in visitors to Parc Slip over the last year, the amount of mess left on the paths has actually decreased since the reopening of the centre. Most of the dog walkers that visit Parc Slip are very responsible and carry poo bags with them- thank you very much to these owners. However, there is still enough mess left on the paths to cause problems.

Dog mess left on the path leading out of the picnic area 
As well as being unsightly and a potential disease risk for the people using the nature reserve (imagine how unpleasant it is for reserve workers strimming the paths, or for school groups visiting the nature reserve), there are also implications for the wildlife. Dog mess can actually increase the nutrients in the soil, which allows the more competitive species such as nettles and grasses to grow, which leads to a reduction in wildflowers along the paths. We also unfortunately occasionally get poo bags thrown into the hedgerows, where they hang in the trees and are very unsightly and unpleasant. The bags (even the biodegradable ones) will not rot down for a long time and can cause a hazard to wildlife that could eat them. 

Nettles can overtake wildflowers on the paths where dog mess is left

So here are our plans to help reduce the problems of dog mess at Parc Slip. Hardy Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers are undertaking weekly ‘Poo Patrols’ around the main paths at Parc Slip. Quick removal of the mess from the paths will prevent the problems outlined above and create a much more pleasant environment for people and wildlife at Parc Slip. However, this does use up valuable staff time that would otherwise be spent on conservation work. Please help us reduce the time spent on Poo Patrol by picking up after your dog. 

Wildlife Trust staff tackle this unpleasant job
Bins have been placed on the nature reserve in prominent places; at the car park, the end of the canal path, by the willow weaved tree and at the top of the Nant-y-Gedd cascades. If you have forgotten your poo bags, you can pick them up for free from the Visitor Centre. We are also currently in the process of fundraising for a dog poo bag dispenser that will be fitted in the car park to make it as easy as possible for dog owners to pick up after their dog.

Lastly, we are looking for artistic children to help get the messages across! We’d love to get some posters put up on the nature reserve that encourage people to pick up after their dogs, so if your children would like to get their pens and pencils out to help the wildlife at Parc Slip, please send the posters through to Rose Revera, WTSWW, The Nature Centre, Fountain Road, Tondu CF32 0EH

Thank you for picking up after your dog and helping keep Parc Slip a safe and pleasant place for wildlife and people.

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