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Germany has introduced the Wildretter Projekt which uses Drone Aircraft flown over Bavarian Fields to prevent farmers from slaughtering Fawns (baby deer or Bambis) with their deadly grass mowing equipment – A call to support the European Fawnocide Initiative.
The following news was so important that it featured on the front page of one of Germany’s most respectable newspapers (Süddeutsche Zeitung 25th April 2014: print version, page 1). Only an article about the conflict in the Ukraine had greater prominence (which of course it justly deserved).
However despite a thorough review of the English language press over the following week I have been unable to find a single publication which featured this vital subject. Once again the Alpine Press pages of http://www.chrisduggleby.com lead the way in bringing issues to the attention of the global community which the traditional media barons are unwilling, or perhaps afraid, to publish.
The title of the original article was “Drohen sollen Bambis retten” which roughly translated means Drones must save Bambis.
The German article started by describing an experience from the previous year by a 64 year old Game warden, Winfried Edelmann. He explained that during a walk across a freshly mown field in Erkrath (in the German state of North Rhein-Westphalia) he came across a scene resembling something from a dreadful horror movie. He discovered six dead fawns – or to be more precise their chopped up bloody remains scattered over the field. They had been cut to pieces by the machine used by the local farmer to mow his field.
These tragedies occur every year whenever the farmers mow their grass in May and June to provide feed for the cattle. The newspaper estimated that these activities cost annually the lives of about a hundred thousand helpless ‘Bambis’. The main danger areas for these baby deer are the fields of long grass near to forests and woodlands. Typically a doe deer leaves her newborn baby fawns in the long grass to provide them with some degree of protection from their natural prey, for example foxes. At this stage the baby deer have still not developed their instincts to run away from danger.
Regardless of what happens around them the fawns simply stay very still on the ground and do not make a sound. If a fox is close this is often the best strategy to avoid detection. However by not running away they make themselves highly vulnerable to the deadly blades of the grass cutting equipment. Hence these tragedies keep taking place on Germany’s fields every spring.
Farmers are the first to want this slaughter to stop. Of course they do not want to kill innocent baby deer and in addition their own cattle can be poisoned when they eat hay which has been contaminated with rotting Bambi body parts. They are often unable to see when the slaughter takes place because they sit in their tractor in front of the cutting equipment. Many of them try to frighten the baby deer away by playing loud radio music or making other unpleasant noises. However Mr Edelmann believes this approach is pretty ineffective due to the fawn’s tendency to simply freeze and stay low on the ground. In his view the only effective approach would be to send trained dogs into the fields to search for the timid young animals.
This was the only effective way – until now! The German Federal Ministry of Agriculture is providing 2.5 million euro in support to the official Bambi Life Saving Project (“Wildretter Projekt des Bundeslandwirtschaftsministeriums“). In the initial phase of the research project drones equipped with special sensors and cameras have been flying over fields a few days prior to planned mowing operations. These aircraft which look like mini-helicopters use their high-tech equipment to identify any find fawns hiding in the long grass.
When a drone finds a fawn an accomplice standing at the edge of the field attaches a tracking-signal emitter to its ear. This allows the farmer to check just prior to mowing the field whether the animals are still present. If they are still there the farmer places them gently into a container full of hay until he has completed cutting the grass. After he has finished his work he carefully releases the baby deer back into the wild.
So far five of these prototype drone aircraft have been used for tests over the meadows in Bavaria. The spokesman for the project, Rolf Stockum, reported that so far the results from the trials have been very favourable: “The drones have reliably identified where fawns were present”.
The authorities now need to decide whether to extend the Bambi Protection service throughout Germany. We have been fortunate this year. The warm winter in Europe has meant that many of the meadows had been mown before this season’s fawns were born. Clearly now is the time to expand this baby deer life saving project across the whole of Germany and perhaps into other European countries. Just in Germany the lives of about 100,000 baby deer are at stake. Please support the European Fawnocide Initiative by telling your friends about this important development (send them a link to this report).
If you found this article interesting you might also like to take a look at some of my other recent reviews. Just click on the titles below:
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6th October 2012: Blue, green or chocolate brown honey: Bee Obesity (“Obeesity”), M&Ms and a potential marketing challenge to Nutella in our children’s lunchboxes.
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18th August 2012: How Bavarians and Austrians use their middle finger – Fingerhakeln: a men-only sport (did Arnold Schwarzenegger start training this way?).
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4th August 2012: Alpine Cows are Fined 100 Euros by Judge for Ringing their Cow-bells too Loud (Steiermark Kuhglockenstraffe: die Kirchenglocken zunächst?)
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14th July 2012: Animal Emergencies and Horror Stories: Buzzards Attack Joggers, Horse Nearly Drowns in Poo, Ducklings Down the Drain.
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If you enjoyed reading about how Germany’s Wildretter Projekt uses Drone Aircraft in Bavaria to prevent farmers slaughtering Fawns (Bambis) when mowing – please tell your friends to support the European Fawnocide Initiative and remember to visit http://www.chrisduggleby.com again.