Eric Brown is back with his Wild Things column looking at some of the amazing creatures we have on our doorsteps.

Sometimes it seems as though we are intentionally driving our wildlife towards extinction.

Birds of prey are regularly found shot, poisoned or trapped and badgers’ status as a legally protected animal means nothing now a cull has been approved on the flimsiest evidence that they may pass tuberculosis to cattle.

Egg collecting still exists. Recently a Norfolk-based collector was found to have 5,257 eggs from 298 bird species secreted at home. More than 50 were from species classified as most endangered including nightjars, turtle doves and woodlarks. The 65-year-old egg thief received an 18-week prison sentence.

I intended to include the National Trust on a list of bodies worth joining for their efforts to protect wildlife but not now. The trust has ruined a hard-earned reputation won caring for such species as seals and terns by considering shooting wild boar on one of its estates in Wiltshire.

Boar died out in the UK many years ago but have returned to afforested areas. They cause damage by turning over the ground seeking bulbs and roots to eat so the trust has decided to hire marksmen to wipe them out.

However, there are other organisations dedicated to wildlife conservation and a subscription to one of the following would make an ideal Christmas gift.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has over one million members and manages more than 200 UK nature reserves covering about 130,00 hectares, home to 80 per cent of Britain’s rarest species. A network of local groups includes those at Gravesend, Bexley and Bromley. Telephone 01767 693 680 for membership enquiries or email

The Wildlife Trusts have similar aims and are organised on a county basis. For Kent Wildlife Trust telephone 01622 662 012. London Wildlife Trust is: 0207 261 0447. For Kent Ornithological Society email: