credit Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com) AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInWith red kites now thriving across Dumfries and Galloway, RSPB Scotland is stepping back from the Galloway Kite Trail and handing over its on-going management to local businesses.Founded in October 2003, The Galloway Kite Trail was set up by RSPB Scotland in a partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland and Bellymack Hill Farm. It was created as a community-based wildlife viewing initiative to help raise public awareness of red kites and promote Dumfries and Galloway as a visitor destination.Red kites were locally extinct in Dumfries and Galloway until 2001 when they were brought back through a re-introduction programme that ran until 2005. There are now around 130 pairs breeding throughout all vice-counties in the region, and over 1000 chicks have fledged in the wild since the project began.Across the UK, where other successful re-introductions have also taken place, the red kite has gone from a red-listed bird, the highest level of conservation concern, to a green listed bird, the lowest level. Incidents of illegal persecution against kites are still recorded, but their population is stable and growing, and it is hoped that they will continue to spread.RSPB Scotland’s Calum Murray worked as a community liaison officer on the project for over 12 years. He said: “The Galloway Kite Trail has been a huge part of my life, and it’s been a privilege to be involved in something so worthwhile, with so many tangible and knock-on benefits for wildlife and for people. It’s also been a pleasure working with the businesses and landowners involved, who have all contributed to the trail’s success as a visitor attraction and will, I’m sure, continue to support it.“It’s definitely sad to be stepping back, but as a conservation charity, the RSPB has to prioritise its efforts based on the needs of species and habitats. We’ll continue to monitor the red kite population in Dumfries and Galloway, and we’ll help to support nature-based tourism through other projects, such as our work at Mersehead and the Mull of Galloway.”One of the aims of the Galloway Kite Trail was to use nature-based tourism to support local businesses and land owners following the devastating impacts of the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak.An economic survey carried out annually by the RSPB between 2004 and 2015 found that visitors to the trail spent an estimated £54.6m in Dumfries and Galloway, with £8.2m directly attributable to people visiting the area to see the kites. In the same period, the trail attracted over 100,000 visitors and supported, on average, the equivalent of 19 full-time jobs every year.The Galloway Kite Trail will continue to operate through a leaflet – which can be picked up at local venues – signs, and interpretation at sites around the trail.
Fall to fifth loss since start of season RUGBY LEAGUE BY FIDELIS SUKINA [email protected] RUGBY LEAGUE The SP PNG Hunters have slumped to their fifth loss this season after going down to the South Logan Magpies 20-12 at the Oil Search National Football Stadium but not without some controversy over some of referee Michael Gordon’s rulings. Hunters coach Michael Marum was disappointed with some of the penalties against the Hunters calling them “unfair”. Marum also admitted their performance was also to blame for the loss. “I am not blaming the referee. The effort was there. All throughout (the game) we made four errors in the first half but in the second half we didn’t finish the sets. The effort was there,” he said. “It’s always been tough playing against a strong side then again the ruling we have been really given a lot of penalties since round one and for us, as a team, we have tried our best to do the right thing playing along with the rules but it has just been unfair. “Again, we trained really well for this game. They were a strong side they are number three on the ladder but we had the ball we made them work but every time we gave away the ball or got penalized we had to defend really hard.” The Hunters were held at 12-12 by the Magpies in the first half, but remained scoreless in the second half with the Magpies surging to 20-12 at fulltime. The Hunters scored first through Edene Gabbie six minutes into the game; Edene pouncing on a loose ball ran 80m to score, with skipper Ase Boas converting the two points for a 6-0 lead. The Magpies were next to score after center Marion Seve toed a kick in to the Hunters’ try line and scored after a re-gather to level at 6-6 in the ninth minute. The Hunters looked cool with good ball control and complete sets, Ase Boas and Charlie Simon made good deep kicks into the Magpies try line, holding them off and making them work hard to return the ball. The Hunters organised sets paid off when Willie Minoga crossed over for the home side’s second try. Willie taking the ball from the ruck in the 10m line and headed into three Magpie defenders muscling his way for a converted try to take them to a 12-6 lead. With just 10 minutes before half time, the Magpies found the Hunters’ lacking in defense which saw interchange Jordan Scarlet dashing 30m through open space to score a converted try tying the score at 12-12 heading into half time. The Magpies Guy Hamilton converted a penalty kick in the 62nd minute taking the Magpies to a 14-12 lead. The Hunters were left miserable after a controversial penalty call. Wartovo Puara’s tackle on Magpies Sam Scarlett saw him losing the ball forward allowing Hunters Junior Rau to dash 90m only to be called back and a penalty awarded against the Hunters. The Magpies secured the win with Jordan Scarlet scoring a converted try off dummy half in the 75th minute to end the match at 20-12 at full time.
Clonmel’s Daire Lynch won a gold medal in the European Under 23 Rowing championships yesterday.The Tipperary man, alongside his Cork teammate Ronan Bryne, finished in first place in the Men’s Double Skulls A final.The Irish duo finished 4 seconds ahead of second place Belarus to take gold in Duisburg, Germany yesterday. (c) Pixabay.com