Fox hunt trespass on nature reserve sparks concern for wildlife on verge of extinction
Concerns about disturbance to wildlife on the verge of extinction has been raised after a fox hunt was spotted on a nature reserve on the Shropshire/Wales border.
A hunt trespassed on Mason's Bank nature reserve, near Newcastle-on-Clun, this weekend according to Shropshire Wildlife Trust (SWT).
A member of the public captured video footage of horses and dogs on Mason's Bank, and the matter has been reported to the police.
While the hunt has not been identified, the Countryside Alliance said incidents like this are rare and hunts work tirelessly to maintain good relations with landowners.
John Hughes, development manager at SWT, said hunts are not allowed on its land because of the disturbance dogs and horses cause to wildlife.
He said: "We were sent a video this weekend of a hunt which took place on our Mason's Bank nature reserve. It's so clear it's a nature reserve from the signage.
"As a trust we're quite neutral on fox hunting, we're not saying it's bad but we are saying please don't do it on our land because it causes so much disturbance to wildlife.
"It's incredibly rude and arrogant to just ignore the signs.
"In that part of the world there are birds that nest on the ground, some of which are close to extinction. Dogs and horses going across the land causes so much disturbance and puts them at risk."
Shropshire Wildlife Trust is encouraging the public to gather visual evidence and report any illegal activity they see on its land, and said it would push for prosecution in the future.
A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance said: "As no specific hunt can be identified and no evidence has yet been presented publicly, it would be inappropriate to comment beyond making it clear that registered hunts across the country work tirelessly to maintain good relations with all landowners and members of the public.
"Incidents like this are incredibly rare and it is, of course, not the intention of any hunt to stray on to land where hounds are not permitted.
"Steps are taken by all packs to ensure that legal trail hunting activities only take place where permission of the landowner has been sought."