TV review: Wildlife Patrol ITV4

With so many TV channels around now you either have to hunt for a good wildlife programme or, as I did last night, stumble on it by accident. Last night saw the start of a new series on ITV4 called Wildlife Patrol.

The series follows the lives of some people involved in wildlife crime and welfare. Last night we followed a couple of wildlife police officers and an officer from Heathrow Airport and it was pretty enjoyable viewing.

For me the highlight of the 30 minute programme was a wildlife officer from Humberside pulling over a car suspected of being involved in hare coursing. As he approached the car what should come dashing across the field and the road but a hare being chased by a dog. The owner of the said dog then claimed it was nothing to do with him and the chase was not intentional. Sadly the dog caught and killed the hare.

For me the biggest concern over the hare coursing there is just a maximum £1,000 fine if convicted of killing one of our most endangered wildlife species. Perhaps it’s time we looked again at punishments for killing our native wildlife with prison sentences being available for magistrates to use.

There was also a good news story as a wildlife police officer in Glasgow used an old Japanese dolphin hunting technique to encourage a porpoise back out to sea after it had decided to take a day trip to central Glasgow and became trapped behind the weir.

By banging a piece of scaffolding pole with a lump hammer and a brick the officer was able to encourage the porpoise to head back down the river to it’s tidal reaches and hopefully back out to sea.  A much better use of the technique than the old Japanese fishermen who would use noise disturbance to corral the dolphins together for slaughter.

The third story covered in the first episode of Wildlife Patrol involved the team at the animal centre of Heathrow Airport.

Amazingly someone had spotted and caught an amur wild cat in their garden in London. A local animal welfare centre passed it onto the animals centre at Heathrow Airport for confirmation of the species. Fortunately the officer was able to find a permanent and suitable home for the cat at a zoo in Scotland. Quite how the wild cat ended up in someone’s garden is anyone’s guess.

It was a highly entertaining programme and certainly made up for the end of the Truth About Wildlife series that ended last week.

Wildlife Patrol is one series that has been programmed into the satellite receiver to remind me of future episodes.