Anyone who has visited the League Against Cruel Sports wildlife sanctuaries will know what incredible places they are. Their importance is magnified because they are situated in an area of the country that is renowned for killing wildlife, rather than protecting it.

This summer has already been an exceptional one for wildlife breeding on the sanctuaries, despite the weather changing from week to week. Badger cubs, fox cubs, red deer calves and roe deer kids have all been seen on the sanctuaries by League staff, or caught on one of the camera traps. Pied flycatchers successfully reared a large number of young from the nest boxes and peregrines have fledged from their regular nesting site. Now insects are having their turn. The fields that were alive with fluttering meadow brown and ringlet butterflies have now seen an influx of exotic painted ladies and hummingbird hawkmoths have also made an early appearance.

Fox cub at Baronsdown Wildlife Sanctuary

Small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly

It is always a privilege to be able to show League members the places their valuable donations help to support and some of the wildlife they are helping to keep safe. It is also great when we have groups visiting the sanctuaries who aren’t necessarily League supporters, as this gives us the opportunity to show off the magnificent places the League owns to people who may not even by aware of our existence. During the past month we have welcomed groups from Devon Recovery Learning, Devon Birds and Devon Butterfly Conservation to the wildlife sanctuaries. Devon Recovery Learning does amazing work helping people with lived mental health difficulties and it is lovely to see the calming affect that being in the tranquil setting of a League sanctuary has on the students.

Butterfly Conservation Devon

Of course, not everyone sees the League wildlife sanctuaries in a positive light. Even after 50+ years, many of our opponents still despise our presence. While I was in London telling League supporters how brilliant the League sanctuaries are, some thugs on motorbikes kicked the lock off the gate into Baronsdown and smashed down the sanctuary sign that has stood proudly in place for the past 25 years. On my return we were able to patch up both the gate and the sign, but the sign will need replacing when we get time. It is an inconvenience and a cost we could do without, but it happens all too regularly. As well this incident, there have been a couple of recent personal threats against me that I have had to report to Avon & Somerset Police. One thing is certain, their bullying tactics will never win.

Damaged sign at Baronsdown Wildlife Sanctuary