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Hadstock Road, Linton, Cambridgeshire, CB21 4NT. Telephone: 01223 891308
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HELP ANIMALS SURVIVE FIREWORK NIGHT
We don't like to sound like killjoys, but as Zoo Keepers we dread this time of year as we all gear up for not just one night of hell, but several nights even weeks.
Firework parties now spread themselves over a longer period and don’t now seem to celebrate the foiling of the gunpowder plot on 5th November 1605. In fact if you were to ask children why we have bonfires and fireworks on 5th November, most haven’t got any idea at all or evem who Guy Fawkes was!
ONLY SUPPORT AND ATTEND PROPERLY ORGANISED COMMUNITY FIREWORK PARTIES
WHICH TAKE PLACE ON WIDE OPEN SPACES ON BONFIRE NIGHT!
Firework displays which take place on large open meadows will minimise distress and even death for local wildlife like bats, owls, song birds and people’s pets. Birds are quietly roosting in trees all around you at night. Just because you can't hear or see them doesn't mean they don't exist after sunset!
While watching the firework display look around and see how many birds leave their safe roosting place and fly confused and frightened aimlessly into the sky.
Most of our favourite garden birds are unable to see in the dark, so once driven from their roost they will be unable to find somewhere safe for the rest of the night.
To avoid the site of the explosions these birds will often fly low and collide with other objects, many will not survive.
Nocturnal birds such as owls can have their hearing painfully disrupted.
If you are a firework party organiser please, please, please spare a thought for all of us with pets and wildlife to care for – the exploding aerial displays may be good for a stunning display to rake in the cash and entertain the locals, but they can have a long lasting, devastating effect on us! If you are organising a public firework display, think about the kind of firework you use, low noise fireworks have a far smaller impact on our native wildlife.
Would you aim and fire a bazooka gun just metres away from a harmless animal - or child?
So why do the equivalent with a 120 decibel "aerial bomb"?
KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE Here are some tips which may help you protect your pets during the firework parties make the following few days a bit more bearable for your pets.
Get pets inside well before firework displays start, keep curtains closed and lights on with the TV on or play music to help mask the firework explosions.
Providing it is safe to do so, sit with your pet and talk to them as you normally would, although some professionals consider soothing your pet to be positive reinforcement for fearful behaviour. Try to distract your pet from its anxiety by playing with them, use their favourite toys and offer treats to get their attention. Remember pets will pick up on you being anxious or frightened, which will make them worse.
Pets such as guinea-pigs and rabbits should be brought inside too, but be careful to not get them too warm or they will catch a chill when you put them back outside, simply covering their hutch is usually not enough.
If you have an aviary of birds get them into their shelters, lock them in and put a light on, if they leave their perch they will be able to see to get back. You will probably have to keep the lights on all night as suddenly switching them off can shock them or install a dimmer and gradually lower the light to simulate the approach of night time.
If your neighbours are planning firework parties try and persuade them to have fireworks without noise as the light displays alone are less of a problem to pets indoors with the TV on. Likewise if you are organising a home firework part be courteous to your neighbours by warning them that you are going to use fireworks, so that pets are brought in.
THE LATEST CRAZE ISN'T POPULAR WITH US! Despite numerous protests to ban them, Sky Lanterns are still exteremly popular and cause us quite a problem. Whilst they may look nice as you are releasing them, spare a thought for where they might land. Trying to calm down a lion after a sky lantern has just landed in its enclosure isn't the easiest of jobs! Even ones drifting over the zoo during the day which may seem harmless enough to you can cause chaos amongst our animals. Groucho one of our Scarlet Macaws was lucky to survive when a sky lantern still burning landed on his aviary one night. His distress soon spread, disturbing other birds and animals in the area.
GUY FAWKES MAY NOT BE THE ONLY ONE BURNING ON YOUR BONFIRE!
Check your bonfires for hiding animals - this hedgehog was lucky to get away with minor injuries as he made a dash from the flaming bonfire he was hiding in.
Creatures such as hedgehogs, amphibians, snakes and other reptiles will be looking for cozy piles of material to shelter and even hibernate in as the daylight hours shorten and weather becomes cooler.
Build your bonfires away from ponds, streams and other water sources to reduce the risk of attracting amphibians.
Wait until the last minute to build your bonfire so there will be less time for animals to find it.
Always check your bonfire for animals before you light it.
US scientists believe fireworks caused up to 5000 birds to fall from the sky over an Arkansas town on New Year's Eve 2010.
Internal bleeding was found to be the cause of death for many of the birds where because of their poor night sight they would have collided with buildings, trees, even each other in their panic.
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