Anglesey Countryfile


Anglesey

Matt Baker and Anita Rani are in Anglesey, where Matt is on the lookout for harbour porpoises and Anita finds out what's behind the boom in Menai mussels.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to Anglesey. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

The waters around Anglesey in North Wales

0:00:320:00:34

are some of the richest for wildlife in the UK.

0:00:340:00:37

And for harbour porpoises in particular,

0:00:400:00:42

last year was a bumper one,

0:00:420:00:44

so what is it about the seas here that makes them so at home?

0:00:440:00:48

Anita's hoping to get up close to one of our best-loved animals.

0:00:500:00:53

Oh, so close. I was so close.

0:00:550:00:57

Fake fur or the real thing?

0:00:580:01:01

Helen finds out why it's hard to tell the difference.

0:01:010:01:04

How would you feel if it turns out to be real fur?

0:01:040:01:07

I would be very upset, actually.

0:01:070:01:09

Our rural vets are treating not just beasts but beauties, too.

0:01:090:01:14

This is Coco Chanel.

0:01:140:01:16

She's actually called Coco Chanel?

0:01:160:01:17

-Yeah, black and white for Chanel.

-Oh, wow, nice.

0:01:170:01:20

And Adam's finding out how facial recognition technology

0:01:200:01:24

is helping farmers spot problems in their flocks.

0:01:240:01:27

So, here we can see I've got a photo of your sheep.

0:01:270:01:31

-The first step is just to identify every face.

-Extraordinary.

0:01:310:01:34

This is Anglesey, just off the coast of North Wales.

0:01:440:01:48

A gem of an island, separated from the mainland by the Menai Strait.

0:01:490:01:54

These waters are rich in wildlife.

0:01:550:01:57

All manner of sea creatures can be seen above and below the waves.

0:01:590:02:04

And as it turns out,

0:02:080:02:09

these Welsh waters are providing a great home for one in particular.

0:02:090:02:14

The harbour porpoise.

0:02:140:02:15

I'm at Point Lynas on the north-east side of the island,

0:02:170:02:20

hoping to catch a glimpse.

0:02:200:02:22

The sea's cutting up rough today,

0:02:230:02:25

so spotting them isn't going to be easy, but they are out there.

0:02:250:02:29

Last year was a bumper one for sightings of whales,

0:02:290:02:33

dolphins and porpoises from all over the UK.

0:02:330:02:37

Point Lynas has always been a hot spot.

0:02:370:02:39

I'm joining Peter Evans, founder of the charity Sea Watch,

0:02:400:02:44

observing porpoise behaviour in these waters.

0:02:440:02:47

-Peter, how are we doing?

-Oh, hi, Matt.

-Good to see you.

0:02:470:02:50

-My word, the Irish Sea's looking choppy today.

-Yeah, absolutely.

0:02:500:02:54

When I was walking down here, I saw you using your camera here.

0:02:540:02:57

What's the point of actually filming what you're filming

0:02:570:03:00

out there at the moment? What work are you doing?

0:03:000:03:02

So, with this, I'm really interested to see

0:03:020:03:05

exactly how they're using the currents here

0:03:050:03:07

and see are they in the calm areas, are they in the rougher areas?

0:03:070:03:10

Is that where they're catching fish?

0:03:100:03:12

And what we find, at the moment anyway, is that

0:03:120:03:15

they're using the slack water areas in between the much rougher areas,

0:03:150:03:19

the more turbulent areas and they seem to be popping out

0:03:190:03:22

and catching their prey in those rougher areas.

0:03:220:03:25

And knowing this is important

0:03:270:03:29

because these waters have been earmarked for tidal energy.

0:03:290:03:32

Peter's research could help energy companies avoid putting

0:03:330:03:37

turbines in the areas where these porpoises are keen to feed.

0:03:370:03:40

But it's not just harbour porpoises that could be impacted upon.

0:03:450:03:49

There are many other species here besides.

0:03:490:03:51

Are conditions like this attractive to things like dolphins and whales?

0:03:520:03:57

Yes, this is actually a really diverse, rich area there.

0:03:570:04:01

We have Risso's dolphins just further west from here,

0:04:010:04:04

we've had minke whales offshore.

0:04:040:04:05

We had a humpback whale this summer.

0:04:050:04:07

Common dolphins come round here on occasion

0:04:070:04:09

and bottlenose dolphins in particular.

0:04:090:04:12

Peter and his team have been studying the bottlenose

0:04:120:04:15

population here for the last 20 years.

0:04:150:04:17

They've been using photos to identify family groups

0:04:170:04:21

but now they're using genetics to work out who's who.

0:04:210:04:24

Sea Watch's Chloe Robinson is going to show me

0:04:260:04:29

how she gathers dolphin DNA.

0:04:290:04:32

I'm joining ten-year-old Bee Helfeld,

0:04:320:04:34

just one of a number of local children getting involved.

0:04:340:04:38

This sounds like the best science lesson ever for a ten-year-old.

0:04:380:04:42

What kit have we got here then?

0:04:420:04:44

So here we have our sampling pole

0:04:440:04:46

-and this has a suction cup attached to it.

-OK.

0:04:460:04:48

And this is basically... This is our magic part of the pole.

0:04:480:04:52

So we attach this petri dish to this pole.

0:04:520:04:55

That's it, do you want to pop that on for me?

0:04:550:04:57

-Just make sure it doesn't come off.

-Lovely.

0:04:570:04:59

And then the next thing we would do is

0:04:590:05:00

we would make the camera record, so that's on and recording,

0:05:000:05:04

so we'd like to film which animal we're sampling.

0:05:040:05:06

-Right.

-And now I need a hand. Can you help me extend the pole?

-Yes.

0:05:060:05:10

That's it, so I need someone to support the pole as we move it out.

0:05:100:05:13

That's it, fantastic. That's it.

0:05:130:05:15

All right, so obviously you're on the boat there.

0:05:150:05:17

-Yes, I'll be on the boat.

-Right, I'll be the dolphin.

0:05:170:05:20

If this helps.

0:05:200:05:22

And when our dolphin swims underneath the pole,

0:05:220:05:25

we are going to be collecting anything that it breathes out

0:05:250:05:28

onto our petri dish and preserving it

0:05:280:05:30

-so we can extract some DNA from that.

-Right.

0:05:300:05:33

Samples collected from the mammals' blowholes

0:05:340:05:37

will tell Chloe important things about the relationships

0:05:370:05:40

between different pods of bottlenose dolphins.

0:05:400:05:43

Scientists like Chloe have important work to do,

0:05:450:05:49

but anyone can get involved.

0:05:490:05:51

Sea Watch have set up a scheme called Adopt A Dolphin

0:05:520:05:55

to give children like Bee a chance to learn more about dolphins

0:05:550:05:59

and get up close to them.

0:05:590:06:00

Adopting a dolphin has made me realise that it's really important

0:06:010:06:06

to protect the dolphins in our coasts.

0:06:060:06:10

And does that dolphin have a name, the one that you adopted?

0:06:100:06:13

Yes, Smoothie.

0:06:130:06:15

-Smoothie?

-Yes.

0:06:150:06:16

And she's had two calves, Lumpy and Dipper.

0:06:160:06:20

OK, good names.

0:06:200:06:22

And has your sister got one as well?

0:06:220:06:24

Well, we share Smoothie.

0:06:240:06:26

-Oh, you share Smoothie, oh, right.

-We both adopted her.

-Nice idea.

0:06:260:06:29

That's lovely.

0:06:290:06:30

What are you getting out of this

0:06:300:06:32

and how much do you really enjoy taking part?

0:06:320:06:34

I love it a lot.

0:06:340:06:36

I've learnt so much more about dolphins than before,

0:06:360:06:39

when I hadn't adopted a dolphin.

0:06:390:06:42

It really helps you, like, look out for rubbish on beaches

0:06:420:06:46

cos that just makes you think even just one piece of rubbish

0:06:460:06:50

could affect a dolphin.

0:06:500:06:51

Do you do all of your sea spotting

0:06:520:06:55

and watching from land, then, or have you ever been out on a boat?

0:06:550:06:59

I've been out on a boat

0:06:590:07:00

and I've actually spotted three dolphins when I was out on the boat.

0:07:000:07:03

-What was that like?

-It was really, really nice.

-I can imagine.

0:07:030:07:08

Getting the next generation involved like this will help ensure

0:07:090:07:13

the future for all of our marine wildlife.

0:07:130:07:15

Now, at this time of year,

0:07:200:07:22

you've got to wrap up warm to keep the chill out,

0:07:220:07:25

but what some people choose to wear could turn out to be controversial.

0:07:250:07:30

Here's Helen.

0:07:300:07:31

It seems like everywhere you look these days, people are wearing fur.

0:07:380:07:42

Mostly, of course, it's fake, or faux fur.

0:07:420:07:46

I love the stuff and I have a fair bit of it in my own wardrobe.

0:07:460:07:50

That's occasionally landed me in hot water with some of you.

0:07:500:07:53

Like when I visited Aberdeenshire for Countryfile in 2016.

0:07:550:07:59

-Hello, how are you?

-You are a brave man!

0:07:590:08:02

-Aye, it's freezing.

-Brussen, as they say.

0:08:020:08:04

Right, tell me about your family...

0:08:040:08:06

VOICEOVER: Lots of you got in touch

0:08:060:08:07

to say you thought the bobble on my hat might be real fur.

0:08:070:08:10

Now, this is the hat that so many of you were concerned about.

0:08:120:08:15

Now, I bought it assuming it was fake fur,

0:08:150:08:17

I wore it assuming it was fake fur.

0:08:170:08:20

But, if you look closely, I can see why so many of you were alarmed.

0:08:200:08:25

And do you know what? You're right to ask questions.

0:08:250:08:28

In fact, it's getting harder to be sure of what you're buying.

0:08:300:08:34

Recent investigations have revealed that cheap items

0:08:340:08:37

marketed on the high street and online as faux fur are actually

0:08:370:08:41

made from real fur, from animals like fox, rabbit, and even cats.

0:08:410:08:46

That means many of us wearing fake fur

0:08:460:08:49

might be wearing the real stuff by mistake.

0:08:490:08:52

In Somerset, Karen Berkley walks her dogs in the countryside every day.

0:08:580:09:02

A nice warm hat is essential.

0:09:030:09:05

So what made you buy this particular hat?

0:09:050:09:08

I bought it online.

0:09:080:09:09

I liked the colour, I liked the style of it.

0:09:090:09:12

-And it had a fake fur bobble.

-It actually said...

0:09:120:09:16

It actually said that, yes, fake fur bobble.

0:09:160:09:19

-And I thought, "That'll be perfect."

-And it arrived...

0:09:190:09:22

Yes, and, um, it said luxury faux fur,

0:09:220:09:25

so I thought, "Well, yes, it is very luxurious, it feels beautiful."

0:09:250:09:28

And I started examining it a little bit further,

0:09:280:09:31

and I noticed that inside, the actual fibres were quite crimped,

0:09:310:09:36

and it looked very, very much like the fur on the dogs' legs,

0:09:360:09:40

so that did make me very suspicious about it.

0:09:400:09:44

So you suspect that this is real fur?

0:09:440:09:46

And how would you feel if it turns out to be real fur?

0:09:460:09:49

I would be very upset, actually.

0:09:490:09:51

Well, if it's all right with you,

0:09:510:09:53

can I take this hat away and have it tested?

0:09:530:09:55

Yes. Definitely, yeah.

0:09:550:09:56

And we will find out once and for all if it's real fur.

0:09:560:09:58

-I'll take the hat and I'll give you back your dogs.

-Thank you.

0:09:580:10:01

-Thank you, Karen.

-Come on, Jess.

-Bye, Jess, bye, Toff. Go dry off!

0:10:010:10:05

One of the reasons alarm bells started ringing for Karen

0:10:050:10:08

is that her daughter works for Humane Society International,

0:10:080:10:12

and she knew what to look out for.

0:10:120:10:14

They've been spearheading the investigations

0:10:140:10:17

into faux fur products in the UK.

0:10:170:10:19

Claire Bass is their executive director.

0:10:190:10:22

So we found a large amount of very cheap,

0:10:220:10:24

mislabelled real fur being sold and described as fake fur,

0:10:240:10:28

and that's a problem, increasingly, at the lower end of the market,

0:10:280:10:32

so, items very cheaply, as little as £5 or £10 for a real fur item,

0:10:320:10:37

and people don't imagine that fur could be that cheap.

0:10:370:10:39

Do you think the retailers know

0:10:390:10:40

that it's real fur they're actually selling?

0:10:400:10:42

No, we think a lot of the time, they don't know, actually.

0:10:420:10:45

So the retailers are buying it thinking it's fake,

0:10:450:10:47

people on the street are buying it thinking it's fake,

0:10:470:10:50

but in fact it's real?

0:10:500:10:51

Yeah, it's a scandal both for consumer protection

0:10:510:10:54

and also for the animals who are dying in their millions

0:10:540:10:57

to buy products that people don't even want to buy.

0:10:570:11:00

Claire says there are some easy checks you can do yourself

0:11:000:11:03

if you suspect fur to be real.

0:11:030:11:05

So we're taking a look at Karen's hat.

0:11:050:11:08

To tell the difference between real and fake fur,

0:11:080:11:10

there's three key ways to do it.

0:11:100:11:12

On real fur, the ends of the strands taper to a point,

0:11:120:11:15

as long as they haven't been cut.

0:11:150:11:17

Whereas you never get that on fake fur.

0:11:170:11:19

Also, if you part the fur right down to the base

0:11:190:11:22

where the hair is attached,

0:11:220:11:24

on real fur, you can see the strands attached to a skin,

0:11:240:11:27

whereas on fake fur, it's attached...

0:11:270:11:29

You see a sort of mesh weave.

0:11:290:11:31

And the third way to tell is to cut a little bit off

0:11:310:11:33

and set fire to it, and real fur smells like hair burning

0:11:330:11:38

and sort of frazzles,

0:11:380:11:39

whereas fake fur kind of balls into a plasticky blob.

0:11:390:11:43

So are you pretty convinced that that is real?

0:11:430:11:45

Yeah, I'd say this is real fur.

0:11:450:11:47

But there's only one way to be sure,

0:11:480:11:50

and that's to send it to a lab to have it tested.

0:11:500:11:53

And I've decided to send my hat too.

0:11:530:11:56

We'll find out the results later.

0:11:560:11:58

If the fur in our hats does turn out to be real, the chances are

0:11:580:12:02

that it's been produced in places like Russia or China,

0:12:020:12:05

where animals are often farmed in cruel conditions

0:12:050:12:08

and fur can be produced cheaply.

0:12:080:12:10

But it might surprise you to know that one of the biggest

0:12:190:12:22

producers of fur in the world is much closer to home - Denmark.

0:12:220:12:27

There are 1,400 mink farms in Denmark,

0:12:270:12:29

and the fur business here is booming.

0:12:290:12:31

Now, you're unlikely to find mink in your average bobble hat -

0:12:310:12:34

it is very much a luxury product.

0:12:340:12:36

I've come to find out a little bit more about the industry.

0:12:360:12:39

Here, fur is farmed on an industrial scale

0:12:390:12:42

and it's a business worth almost £850 million.

0:12:420:12:47

I'm headed to Brandelev in southern Denmark,

0:12:500:12:52

where mink farmer Ann-Mona Larsen

0:12:520:12:54

has agreed to show me round her farm.

0:12:540:12:57

So, this is where the mink are?

0:12:570:12:59

-Yes.

-Oh!

0:12:590:13:01

These are breeders.

0:13:080:13:09

They were actually selected back in November.

0:13:090:13:13

They've got this cage, as you see here.

0:13:130:13:15

They've got water running in the back.

0:13:150:13:17

All year, all day long.

0:13:170:13:19

And then they've got this box, which is prepared with straw inside.

0:13:190:13:24

They actually use 75% of their daily living inside.

0:13:240:13:29

And they need the food.

0:13:290:13:31

And then they've actually got a toy...

0:13:310:13:33

Do you have a toy in here? Yeah. Can I have this, please?

0:13:330:13:36

This kind of toys.

0:13:360:13:38

And how many have you got in this barn?

0:13:380:13:40

Here is just about 2,600 animals.

0:13:400:13:44

That's female breeders and males.

0:13:440:13:47

When the pups are born in spring,

0:13:470:13:49

Ann-Mona will have 22,000 animals at her farm.

0:13:490:13:53

They'll be sent for pelting when they're around six months old.

0:13:530:13:56

Like it or not, compared to others in countries like China,

0:13:560:14:00

this farm works to some of the highest welfare standards

0:14:000:14:03

in the fur industry.

0:14:030:14:05

Fur is such an emotive subject,

0:14:050:14:07

especially for a British person, we're a nation of animal lovers,

0:14:070:14:11

it's kind of difficult for me to stand here and look at this,

0:14:110:14:14

but how different is this from farming pigs, cows, sheep?

0:14:140:14:18

If you ask me, it's the same.

0:14:180:14:20

I actually think that you treat your animals the best you can,

0:14:200:14:24

no matter which animals it is.

0:14:240:14:27

I think maybe this can be a little bit more sensitive

0:14:270:14:30

because they look like our pets.

0:14:300:14:32

But they are not a pet, you know. They look like, but they are not.

0:14:320:14:37

It's becoming clear to me that for Ann-Mona, this is a way of life.

0:14:380:14:42

But for me, it's quite a culture shock to see animals like these

0:14:420:14:45

in cages, and I wasn't prepared for just how eerie I'd find it.

0:14:450:14:50

But even if you think you're doing the right thing by buying faux fur,

0:14:500:14:54

you might not be, and that's because it's made of plastic.

0:14:540:14:58

We are more aware than ever before about the effect that plastic

0:15:000:15:04

is having on our environment.

0:15:040:15:06

So is faux fur really a sustainable alternative to real fur?

0:15:060:15:10

The fur industry in Denmark thinks not.

0:15:100:15:13

It prides itself on offering the natural choice.

0:15:130:15:16

I'll be finding out a bit more about that later in the programme,

0:15:160:15:19

as well as discovering if the hat that I wore is real or faux.

0:15:190:15:23

Separating Anglesey from the Welsh mainland is the Menai Strait,

0:15:320:15:36

a 15-mile channel bringing fresh water with each tide.

0:15:360:15:40

It's shallow, and sheltered from the Irish Sea,

0:15:420:15:44

which makes it perfect for all sorts of underwater flora and fauna.

0:15:440:15:49

Now, as you might expect, a pristine body of water like that

0:15:520:15:56

is home to a wonderful array of marine wildlife.

0:15:560:15:59

But what you might not know is in that same water

0:15:590:16:01

are some of the richest farmlands in the UK.

0:16:010:16:05

Yep, farmlands.

0:16:070:16:08

Because mussels are farmed here

0:16:080:16:11

on a scale like few other places in the UK.

0:16:110:16:14

There are thousands upon thousands growing in these pristine waters.

0:16:140:16:19

John Jones has been working here for 23 years.

0:16:190:16:22

-Morning, lovely to see you.

-Welcome on board.

0:16:220:16:25

Thank you very much.

0:16:250:16:26

But whatever you do, don't call him a fisherman.

0:16:330:16:36

So you're not a fisherman?

0:16:380:16:39

No. Basically, exactly the same as a farmer,

0:16:390:16:41

we're actually on top of our fields at the moment here, now.

0:16:410:16:45

So, underneath us at the moment, there's probably 700 tonnes

0:16:450:16:48

of mussels, ready to be sold in the next three or four weeks.

0:16:480:16:51

700 tonnes!

0:16:510:16:53

We can produce up to 9,000 to 10,000 tonnes of mussels in a season.

0:16:530:16:57

And just like farms on land,

0:16:570:16:59

John needs to sow his fields with seeds too.

0:16:590:17:02

Well, the seeds for us is basically a baby mussel.

0:17:020:17:05

So it's a very, very tiny mussel.

0:17:050:17:07

There are certain places that they tend to turn up, year-on-year,

0:17:070:17:10

where they're really vulnerable.

0:17:100:17:12

Now, if they're vulnerable,

0:17:120:17:13

then they're going to get washed away and killed,

0:17:130:17:15

then that's a resource wasted.

0:17:150:17:17

Rather than let these vulnerable seed mussels get washed away,

0:17:180:17:21

John takes them and transfers them to his farm.

0:17:210:17:25

And he makes sure nobody misses out.

0:17:250:17:27

Around a third are left for the birds.

0:17:270:17:29

This approach has paid off in other ways.

0:17:310:17:34

John's is the first mussel fishery in the UK

0:17:340:17:36

to be certified sustainable.

0:17:360:17:38

At this time of year, John takes a weekly sample

0:17:430:17:46

to check on the size and meat content of the mussels.

0:17:460:17:49

They won't be harvested until they're just right.

0:17:500:17:53

So how do you know whether they're ready?

0:17:530:17:55

Right, the next step for us when we're doing a sampling like this

0:17:550:17:58

is to grab a kilo...

0:17:580:18:00

-That's a kilo of mussels in there?

-That's a kilo of mussels in there.

0:18:000:18:03

Mmm!

0:18:030:18:04

Oh, it smells so good! But they're not to eat?

0:18:040:18:07

No, today they're for a sample.

0:18:070:18:09

So what we're looking for now is the quality of the meat.

0:18:090:18:11

The bigger the meat, the fuller the shells are going to be.

0:18:110:18:14

-So is that good?

-That's good.

0:18:140:18:16

From experience, we'd say another three weeks

0:18:160:18:18

and we're ready to go.

0:18:180:18:19

And what makes these mussels so good?

0:18:190:18:21

It's a farm produce, but it's still a very wild produce.

0:18:210:18:24

You know, it started off in the wild

0:18:240:18:26

and it's carried on growing in the wild, so,

0:18:260:18:28

everything that these mussels need to grow is already inside the water.

0:18:280:18:32

Now, those tiny molluscs have had unexpectedly big impact

0:18:570:19:01

on another local export, one that sparked a global empire.

0:19:010:19:05

I'm meeting Alison and David Lea-Wilson to find out more.

0:19:060:19:10

They started out with mussels,

0:19:100:19:11

but had greater success with another natural product.

0:19:110:19:15

Halen Mon, or Anglesey sea salt.

0:19:150:19:18

So, Alison, David, what's the connection between mussels and salt?

0:19:180:19:21

We started years and years ago, when we were students -

0:19:210:19:24

we grew mussels and oysters, to sort of supplement our grant.

0:19:240:19:28

And then that naturally sort of evolved into salt.

0:19:290:19:32

So when did you have your eureka moment?

0:19:320:19:34

Well, David took a saucepan down to the water's edge,

0:19:340:19:38

took the sea water home, put it on the Aga,

0:19:380:19:40

and we made our first batch of salt.

0:19:400:19:43

Each of these mussels filters nine pints of sea water an hour,

0:19:430:19:48

and in that sea water is sea salt.

0:19:480:19:51

It's just such a brilliant natural resource,

0:19:510:19:53

we're harvesting what's on our doorstep.

0:19:530:19:56

Around half a million tubs of salt are produced

0:19:570:20:00

from the Menai Strait each year.

0:20:000:20:03

The process begins by evaporating off the water.

0:20:030:20:06

Crystals start to form which are scooped out from the tanks

0:20:070:20:10

and left to dry out.

0:20:100:20:12

So what is it about the water in the Menai Strait,

0:20:150:20:17

and the purity, that has an effect on that?

0:20:170:20:19

What's it doing to that salt?

0:20:190:20:21

It's really, really clean sea water

0:20:220:20:24

so it means it's got things that are good for you in it.

0:20:240:20:28

Magnesium, calcium, selenium, zinc.

0:20:280:20:31

All sorts of trace elements that we need.

0:20:310:20:34

This Anglesey salt has been given protected

0:20:340:20:37

designation of origin status, like champagne or Stilton cheese.

0:20:370:20:42

This environment, this bit of beach, is what leads to this result

0:20:430:20:50

and you can't copy that anywhere else.

0:20:500:20:53

Each crystal of salt is as individual as a snowflake,

0:20:530:20:57

and like snowflakes they come in all shapes and sizes.

0:20:570:21:00

-That's incredible.

-Yeah.

0:21:020:21:03

Look at that geometric perfection in nature.

0:21:030:21:06

-Yep.

-We call that a diamond of the sea.

-Yeah.

0:21:060:21:10

And it is stunning, isn't it?

0:21:100:21:11

At last, it looks like I get to taste the landscape.

0:21:110:21:16

So these are our mussels from the Menai Strait.

0:21:160:21:19

-BOTH:

-Yep.

0:21:190:21:20

-Sea salt from the very same body of water.

-Yes.

0:21:200:21:23

I'm going to give that a go.

0:21:230:21:24

Mmm, that is a true taste of Anglesey.

0:21:270:21:30

Yes.

0:21:300:21:31

And Anglesey tastes wonderful.

0:21:310:21:33

Over the last few weeks, we've been spending time

0:21:430:21:45

with a team of country vets to see what it takes

0:21:450:21:48

to look after our livestock at this most challenging time of year.

0:21:480:21:51

The practice in Wiltshire is one of the largest in the country,

0:21:540:21:58

with around 40 vets providing care to all creatures great and small.

0:21:580:22:02

And, just to let you know, some of what they do

0:22:060:22:09

is not for the faint-hearted.

0:22:090:22:10

One of the equine team's jobs is to look after horses' teeth.

0:22:210:22:25

Today, they're giving routine check-ups to a stable of horses

0:22:250:22:28

belonging to Sue Raven.

0:22:280:22:30

They're starting with Ted. He's one of Angela the vet's favourites.

0:22:300:22:34

This is Ted. Ted is nearly seven years old,

0:22:340:22:37

and he's quite sensitive to sedation,

0:22:370:22:39

so we usually don't give him too much.

0:22:390:22:41

Eh? Don't bite me.

0:22:420:22:43

-Good boy.

-SHE CLICKS HER TONGUE

0:22:440:22:46

Good boy.

0:22:460:22:47

Sedation is a method of restraint that we can use.

0:22:470:22:50

It just means that they're in a happy, cloud-nine state

0:22:500:22:54

and will allow us to do things that they might be anxious about

0:22:540:22:58

when they're fully awake.

0:22:580:23:00

Little Ted is now propping himself up like a village drunk

0:23:000:23:02

against the wall, which is great.

0:23:020:23:05

So I'm just going to pop this gag on and have a little look and a feel.

0:23:050:23:09

When we carry out an oral examination,

0:23:090:23:11

we use something called a Haussmann's gag,

0:23:110:23:13

which has a ratchet on the side

0:23:130:23:15

so that we can open their mouths and have a good look inside.

0:23:150:23:18

You can't ask a horse politely to say "Ah."

0:23:180:23:21

So using a gag means that we can safely put our hands

0:23:210:23:24

and equipment in their mouth without hurting them or hurting us.

0:23:240:23:27

Good boy, Ted.

0:23:270:23:28

He is very human-orientated

0:23:310:23:33

and does think that he is much more like a human than he is an animal.

0:23:330:23:38

I think he'd come in the house if he could.

0:23:380:23:40

He's just one of those horses that you just can't help loving, really.

0:23:400:23:44

Good boy.

0:23:440:23:45

Other than having some sharp edges,

0:23:490:23:51

there's not too much going on in Ted's mouth.

0:23:510:23:53

Horses have what we call hypsodont teeth,

0:23:550:23:57

so they have a large reserve crown and a small crown,

0:23:570:24:00

so they need the sharp edges taken off.

0:24:000:24:02

DRILL WHIRS

0:24:020:24:04

Well done, Ted.

0:24:040:24:05

If we didn't do it, the horses would often drop weight,

0:24:130:24:17

they'd have some oral discomfort,

0:24:170:24:18

they'd be quite uncomfortable in their mouths.

0:24:180:24:20

Good boy, Ted.

0:24:210:24:23

There's really not too much to do here at all.

0:24:250:24:27

-It's just, er...

-That's good.

-Yeah, really good.

0:24:270:24:29

Right, I think we're all done here, all right?

0:24:350:24:37

Got to be the fastest, easiest treatment we've ever done.

0:24:370:24:40

Yeah, good boy. I'm just going to give him a little rinse.

0:24:400:24:42

So we have quite strong suspicions that Ted was hand=reared

0:24:460:24:50

because he suckles anything.

0:24:500:24:52

So he'll... Oh, good boy.

0:24:520:24:55

He'll just... Likes to put everything in his mouth,

0:24:550:24:58

-and he's just...

-Especially humans.

0:24:580:25:00

Yes, especially your arm, or your...

0:25:000:25:02

He's quite fond of bottoms, aren't you, Ted?

0:25:020:25:05

Quite fond of bottoms. Good boy.

0:25:050:25:07

-He was really good today, Sue.

-Yeah.

-Really, really good.

0:25:070:25:10

So, yeah, annual check-ups for Ted, nothing to worry about.

0:25:100:25:14

Good boy.

0:25:140:25:15

You build up a real relationship with both them and the owner,

0:25:150:25:18

and you see them quite regularly,

0:25:180:25:19

particularly if it's an ongoing case,

0:25:190:25:21

and so you can't help but love them.

0:25:210:25:23

If you love horses, you can't help but get attached to your patients.

0:25:230:25:27

Mwah! Good boy.

0:25:270:25:28

I wouldn't do that if he was awake.

0:25:280:25:32

Yeah, my colleagues think it's hilarious

0:25:320:25:34

that I often kiss ponies on the nose.

0:25:340:25:36

Last week, Ben, one of the farm vets,

0:25:420:25:44

was trying to figure out a mystery illness.

0:25:440:25:47

Emma, one of his colleagues, brought in a chicken with diarrhoea.

0:25:470:25:51

She's not looking right, bit off-colour, bit pale.

0:25:510:25:54

A week later, unfortunately, there's bad news.

0:25:540:25:58

The chicken died.

0:25:580:25:59

Massive shame, bit of a shock, really,

0:25:590:26:01

cos we sort of thought we'd got to the bottom of it.

0:26:010:26:03

But, chickens, it doesn't take much to knock them down.

0:26:030:26:07

So Emma's brought her other prizewinner poultry in

0:26:070:26:10

to get checked over, and make sure whatever it was isn't contagious.

0:26:100:26:13

Come on, girlie.

0:26:150:26:16

We did pretty much the same sort of...

0:26:160:26:18

I guess you could call it an MOT check of each one -

0:26:180:26:20

temperature, listen to the heart and lungs.

0:26:200:26:23

-Crikey, look at this one.

-This is Coco Chanel.

0:26:230:26:25

-She's actually called Coco Chanel?

-Yeah. Black and white for Chanel.

0:26:250:26:28

Oh, wow, nice.

0:26:280:26:30

And they look like an absolute five-star team, really,

0:26:300:26:33

of showing bantams.

0:26:330:26:34

That's brilliant, thank you very much.

0:26:340:26:36

-At least I know they're all OK, so...

-Yeah, yeah.

0:26:360:26:39

We haven't had any worries since from Emma about them.

0:26:390:26:41

So, whatever it was, I think it might have just been a one-off.

0:26:410:26:44

After giving the birds the all clear, Ben's on the night shift

0:26:530:26:57

and he's tending to a sheep that's been acting oddly.

0:26:570:26:59

We were called out by a chap called Will,

0:27:020:27:05

whose uncle is actually one of our dairy farmers.

0:27:050:27:07

So we know the family very well.

0:27:070:27:10

All right, mate, how are you doing? Been a while.

0:27:100:27:13

As well as working on the dairy farm, he has a small flock of sheep.

0:27:130:27:17

So what's the story, mate?

0:27:170:27:19

Um, well, went in the field, to check the sheep, and she sort of...

0:27:190:27:21

..just seemed a bit too quiet.

0:27:230:27:24

So I went up to her and I was able to catch her,

0:27:240:27:26

so I thought something was up.

0:27:260:27:28

And then, yeah, put her on the quad and brought her back, like,

0:27:280:27:31

-and she just doesn't seem...

-Yeah.

-..quite right.

0:27:310:27:33

One of them was looking what we'd call a bit neurological.

0:27:330:27:37

So it had symptoms which were, um, it was circling in the field...

0:27:370:27:42

Let's go have a look.

0:27:420:27:44

..had sort of slight vision impairment

0:27:440:27:46

and at times it was recumbent, so just lying down.

0:27:460:27:49

So she can still see us.

0:27:520:27:54

The whole waving in front of her face was, one, I was trying to see

0:27:570:28:00

if there was any visual impairment, because blindness can be a symptom.

0:28:000:28:05

That's why I probably looked like a bit of an odd chap,

0:28:050:28:08

trying to dive around in front of a lamb in the corner of the stable.

0:28:080:28:11

Um, but there definitely was... There was reason to it, yeah.

0:28:110:28:13

So there's a couple of things that are just sort of top of the list.

0:28:130:28:18

There's something called CCN,

0:28:180:28:20

they can be blind and they can be recumbent,

0:28:200:28:23

and their legs stretch out and their necks stretch out like that.

0:28:230:28:27

And they don't really move from that.

0:28:270:28:29

-But they can just be disorientated and a bit dull.

-Yeah.

0:28:290:28:33

-The other thing could be listeria, which is a bacteria.

-OK.

0:28:330:28:39

Also, I was tapping around the lamb's face.

0:28:400:28:44

In listeria, that can cause paralysis of the face

0:28:440:28:48

because of one of the nerves it affects.

0:28:480:28:50

Let's reach around here.

0:28:500:28:52

Her lungs were very, very raspy,

0:28:520:28:54

so she had a concurrent pneumonia going on as well.

0:28:540:28:57

So how bad do you reckon it actually is?

0:28:570:29:00

So the good thing is that hopefully we've caught it quite early.

0:29:000:29:05

I actually finished up thinking it was more likely to be CCN,

0:29:050:29:10

which is short for cerebrocortical necrosis,

0:29:100:29:13

which is a bit of a mouthful, so CCN will do.

0:29:130:29:16

That's quite a simple thing to write, actually,

0:29:160:29:18

cos it's just giving, just supplementing vitamin B1.

0:29:180:29:21

I mean, she's doing that thing, remember I talked about

0:29:210:29:24

when they put their leg out and start to slightly go like that?

0:29:240:29:27

She's just starting to do that.

0:29:270:29:28

So as long as we're pretty on it with getting her jabbed

0:29:280:29:31

-and keeping that vitamin B going into her...

-Keep on it..

0:29:310:29:34

..into her system, we hopefully will be OK.

0:29:340:29:37

Initially, we give it in the vein and as the farmers are happy,

0:29:370:29:40

just pop it in the muscle, because it's fine and it's convenient.

0:29:400:29:43

Because of the lungs, I also decided to put her

0:29:430:29:46

on some anti-inflammatories which would also act as pain relief,

0:29:460:29:49

and some antibiotics.

0:29:490:29:51

So we'll go steady.

0:29:510:29:52

I'll give you a ring tomorrow and we'll see where we're at

0:29:520:29:55

-and hopefully she'll pull through OK.

-Thanks very much, yeah. Awesome.

0:29:550:29:58

Thank you.

0:29:580:29:59

I would have said she had a good chance of surviving,

0:30:010:30:04

just simply because of how early we were getting in there.

0:30:040:30:07

The next day, I checked in with him, just to see how she was getting on,

0:30:200:30:24

and she was literally like a different lamb.

0:30:240:30:27

She's making recovery.

0:30:270:30:29

I've given her her injections overnight,

0:30:290:30:32

hopefully she'll be back out in the field later on today or tomorrow.

0:30:320:30:36

I really enjoy interacting with people, and in Will's case,

0:30:380:30:42

you know, he's a young chap, he's just getting started.

0:30:420:30:45

It's all about just helping him understand the situation.

0:30:450:30:48

But that's great fun, I love it. It's always nice having a chat!

0:30:480:30:52

Next week, a routine checkup for Layla the horse

0:30:570:31:00

reveals an unexpected problem.

0:31:000:31:03

There's something not quite right here today.

0:31:030:31:05

Earlier, we heard how real fur

0:31:090:31:11

is being mis-sold as faux fur across the country,

0:31:110:31:15

something that just this month has prompted the Government

0:31:150:31:18

to launch an inquiry into the UK fur trade.

0:31:180:31:21

But could animal fur actually be a more sustainable choice?

0:31:210:31:25

Helen's been in Denmark finding out.

0:31:250:31:28

The UK is known by the rest of the world as a nation of animal lovers,

0:31:320:31:37

because our welfare standards are often higher than anywhere else.

0:31:370:31:41

So it comes as little surprise that we were one of the first countries

0:31:410:31:45

to ban fur farms back in the year 2000.

0:31:450:31:48

But it is still legal to buy and sell

0:31:480:31:51

many kinds of animal fur in the UK.

0:31:510:31:53

So I've been finding out how it's farmed in Denmark,

0:31:540:31:57

one of the biggest producers of mink fur in Europe.

0:31:570:32:00

Here in Denmark, mink fur is sold for a pretty penny.

0:32:030:32:06

At this auction house last year,

0:32:060:32:08

28 million mink skins were sold, making half a billion pounds.

0:32:080:32:13

It's big business and it's aimed at the luxury end of the market.

0:32:130:32:16

The vice president of sales here at Kopenhagen Fur

0:32:190:32:22

is Jesper Lauge Christensen.

0:32:220:32:24

So who is buying this fur, where is it mainly going?

0:32:240:32:28

The fur is actually going all over the world.

0:32:280:32:31

So this is like a hub for raw materials.

0:32:310:32:34

If you go back ten years,

0:32:340:32:36

the turnover of fur in general world wide, retail wise, is tripled.

0:32:360:32:41

Is there a need to farm fur when there are so many synthetic

0:32:410:32:46

alternatives out there that don't involve the animals?

0:32:460:32:49

I think you saying the artificial fur, the fake fur,

0:32:490:32:54

of course you can try to get the same expression,

0:32:540:32:57

but this is a way more sustainable product

0:32:570:33:01

than if you use plastic fur.

0:33:010:33:03

The long lifetime cycle on this product is also amazing.

0:33:030:33:07

A fur garment can last for 40 years.

0:33:070:33:10

This is a raw product from nature.

0:33:100:33:13

However you feel about real fur, there is an issue with faux fur.

0:33:150:33:20

It's made from acrylic, a type of plastic derived from petroleum.

0:33:200:33:25

The fibres are very small and, when the item is washed,

0:33:250:33:28

they make it into our watercourses

0:33:280:33:30

in the form of potentially toxic microplastics.

0:33:300:33:34

There they can be ingested by our marine life

0:33:340:33:36

and passed up the food chain.

0:33:360:33:39

But is real fur really a completely natural product?

0:33:390:33:43

According to Claire from Humane Society International,

0:33:430:33:46

it's far from it.

0:33:460:33:48

To stop it decomposing, which it would naturally do

0:33:480:33:51

when it's taken from the animals, it's treated with a toxic

0:33:510:33:54

and carcinogenic cocktail of chemicals,

0:33:540:33:56

so there's nothing natural about the use of fur in fashion.

0:33:560:34:00

Different research papers on the footprint of both industries

0:34:000:34:04

come up with different results.

0:34:040:34:05

But, whichever way you look at it,

0:34:050:34:08

faux fur is not the squeaky clean alternative to real fur

0:34:080:34:11

that I thought it was.

0:34:110:34:13

So what about the hats that we sent to be tested earlier?

0:34:130:34:15

I'm joining fibre analyst Dr Phil Greaves to find out

0:34:170:34:21

once and for all whether they contain real fur.

0:34:210:34:24

So, Phil, sorry to interrupt, but what are you looking at here?

0:34:240:34:28

These are the fibres from your hat.

0:34:280:34:30

And I can tell by looking that they are modacrylic. That's synthetic.

0:34:300:34:33

So they're faux. Even though I knew that,

0:34:330:34:35

I feel like now I've got a bit more peace of mind

0:34:350:34:38

because you've scientifically told me, definitely fake.

0:34:380:34:40

-Yes, yes. No mistake.

-Can I see?

-Certainly.

0:34:400:34:43

What are you actually looking at, how can you tell that it's fake?

0:34:430:34:46

Because there are no structural details in the fibres -

0:34:460:34:49

they're straight edged, they're uniform, they are synthetic.

0:34:490:34:52

-That looks like plastic, doesn't it?

-It is, yes.

-And what about Karen's?

0:34:520:34:57

Let's have a look.

0:34:570:34:59

Immediately, you can tell that these are animal fibres.

0:34:590:35:01

You can tell by the characteristics that they are fox fibres.

0:35:010:35:05

How can you tell that?

0:35:050:35:07

Because of the nature of the scales on the fibre edges.

0:35:070:35:10

-They are very different, aren't they?

-They are, yes.

0:35:100:35:13

There's much more structural detail to them.

0:35:130:35:15

They differ from root to tip. And no synthetic can do that.

0:35:150:35:19

So scientific confirmation that my hat is fake fur

0:35:230:35:27

but Karen has worn real fur unknowingly.

0:35:270:35:31

Her hat came from a company called LeMieux. They market themselves

0:35:340:35:38

as supplying the finest equestrian products in the UK.

0:35:380:35:42

A lot of the items on this website

0:35:420:35:44

clearly say that they use animal products.

0:35:440:35:46

But, in the case of Karen's hat, it says,

0:35:460:35:49

"complete with detachable faux fur pom-pom."

0:35:490:35:54

It says it right next to it.

0:35:540:35:55

Now, we contacted them with our test results

0:35:550:35:58

and this is what they had to say.

0:35:580:35:59

So what needs to change to protect consumers

0:36:240:36:27

and retailers from making the same mistake?

0:36:270:36:30

There are calls for clearer labelling on all fur,

0:36:300:36:33

real or fake, but even then you need to keep your wits about you.

0:36:330:36:37

In the end, the choice to buy fur is a personal one.

0:36:380:36:42

But it's clear that there are issues with both real and faux fur.

0:36:420:36:47

So it seems that the choice for the ethical consumer is not real fur

0:36:480:36:51

or faux fur, it's real fur, faux fur or no fur at all.

0:36:510:36:56

The UK farms around 34 million sheep and it's down to us shepherds

0:37:010:37:06

to keep them in tiptop condition.

0:37:060:37:09

Down on Adam's farm he's been looking at how the latest technology

0:37:090:37:13

could be used to help improve the welfare of his flock.

0:37:130:37:17

We've got about 2,000 animals on the farm and we need to check them

0:37:300:37:33

every day to make sure they're fit and healthy.

0:37:330:37:36

So when I'm looking over a flock of sheep like this -

0:37:360:37:38

this is a mixed bunch of rams that I've got together with Peg -

0:37:380:37:41

I'm looking for animals that are off on their own,

0:37:410:37:44

they've got a general demeanour of looking unhealthy and unwell,

0:37:440:37:46

they may be lame, those sorts of things.

0:37:460:37:49

But because sheep are a prey animal,

0:37:490:37:51

in other words, they were hunted by wolves way back,

0:37:510:37:54

and the wolves would have gone around the outside of the flock -

0:37:540:37:57

come by! - trying to spot animals that are weak and easy pickings.

0:37:570:38:02

So the sheep themselves try and hide any sign of weakness

0:38:020:38:05

to avoid getting picked off by the wolves.

0:38:050:38:08

And now I'm looking round them,

0:38:080:38:09

I can see something that's very ill but anything with just

0:38:090:38:13

the early signs of illness is very hard to identify.

0:38:130:38:17

I'm always looking to improve the welfare of my livestock.

0:38:210:38:25

Dr Krista McLennan from the University of Chester

0:38:250:38:28

has a new way to help farmers like me do just that.

0:38:280:38:32

She's an expert in animal behaviour and has been studying

0:38:320:38:35

facial expressions in sheep to help recognise when they're in pain.

0:38:350:38:39

-Hi, Krista.

-Hi.

-Thanks for coming to see me.

-My pleasure.

0:38:390:38:42

So I understand you're doing some fascinating research.

0:38:420:38:45

Yes, we're looking at facial expression in sheep,

0:38:450:38:48

to see if we can actually identify whether there's pain present

0:38:480:38:51

within the facial expression of them.

0:38:510:38:53

Facial expression! Tell me more.

0:38:530:38:55

So, obviously, we know in humans, the way we can recognise, we are

0:38:550:38:58

naturally drawn towards the face to assess how people might be feeling.

0:38:580:39:01

So all we did was sort of take that idea and present it towards sheep.

0:39:010:39:05

And we can see the same sorts of things are happening.

0:39:050:39:08

So the eyes are changing, the lips are changing,

0:39:080:39:11

and the jawline as well.

0:39:110:39:12

So they're pulling almost a grimace as we would if we were in pain.

0:39:120:39:15

And they should have a smile when they're not in pain.

0:39:150:39:18

They actually have a turned up corner of their lip,

0:39:180:39:20

and we often see that that starts to flatten out when they're in pain.

0:39:200:39:23

And so how can we as farmers use it, then?

0:39:230:39:26

Because it sounds pretty technical. Can you teach us how to spot it?

0:39:260:39:30

Hopefully the idea will be that a computer would actually be able

0:39:300:39:32

to analyse this facial expression, to smaller detail,

0:39:320:39:35

and pick up them early, that there's something wrong with them.

0:39:350:39:38

So it's not about teaching farmers just to look at their lips

0:39:380:39:41

and their nose and those sorts of things,

0:39:410:39:43

a computer will be able to spot it for us?

0:39:430:39:45

That's the long-term plan, is that a computer should automatically

0:39:450:39:48

pick up the changes in the facial expression of the sheep.

0:39:480:39:50

Sounds very technological and a lot of hard work.

0:39:500:39:54

I'm keen to see this technology in action

0:39:540:39:56

but, before I do, I want to know what it's looking for.

0:39:560:40:00

So Krista takes a photo of two sheep

0:40:020:40:05

and uploads them to a computer so we can compare their faces.

0:40:050:40:09

So what are you looking at in these faces, then?

0:40:110:40:14

So here on the right-hand side we have our nice healthy sheep.

0:40:140:40:17

And on the left-hand side we have our unwell sheep.

0:40:170:40:20

And in particular we can see from the ears, our nice healthy sheep,

0:40:200:40:22

she's got nice forward-facing ears, she's nice and alert and bright.

0:40:220:40:26

Whereas our sheep that's got some lameness, she's just closing

0:40:260:40:28

those ears down a little bit and they're coming towards the floor.

0:40:280:40:31

-Yeah.

-But in particular what's quite noticeable is our nice

0:40:310:40:34

healthy sheep has this really U-shaped nose, it's nice and broad.

0:40:340:40:38

Whereas our sheep that's very lame, she's much more of a V-shaped nose.

0:40:380:40:41

It's very tight around her mouth area.

0:40:410:40:43

I can see it now you've pointed it out

0:40:430:40:45

but I'm not sure I'd have noticed it before.

0:40:450:40:48

-It's quite interesting, isn't it?

-Very subtle signs.

-Yeah.

0:40:480:40:50

I'm going to look at my sheep in a totally new light now.

0:40:500:40:54

These are just some of the facial expressions

0:40:540:40:56

used to assess signs of pain,

0:40:560:40:58

but there are other things to look out for.

0:40:580:41:01

For her research, Krista teamed up

0:41:010:41:03

with Marwa Mahmoud from Cambridge University.

0:41:030:41:06

Marwa has been working on an artificial intelligence system

0:41:060:41:10

that goes one step further

0:41:100:41:11

in assessing the expressions and levels of pain.

0:41:110:41:14

So what are you looking at here, then?

0:41:140:41:17

So here we can see I've got a photo of your sheep.

0:41:170:41:20

This programme has different steps.

0:41:200:41:22

The first step is just to identify every face...

0:41:220:41:25

So you've got a little box around everyone that's looking at us.

0:41:250:41:27

Exactly. Just identifying that there is a sheep here.

0:41:270:41:30

And the next step is identifying different facial features.

0:41:300:41:33

These are the red dots. Round ears, eyes, nose.

0:41:330:41:37

And we can see here these coloured boxes just give

0:41:370:41:40

an indication of the probability that this sheep is in pain or not.

0:41:400:41:44

Sure. So you've got a green box and over here an orange box.

0:41:440:41:47

Yeah, so orange means that maybe this guy is in pain.

0:41:470:41:52

And down there we can just see

0:41:520:41:54

a close up of every one of them separately.

0:41:540:41:57

For example, this guy thinks it's in moderate pain and it thinks that's

0:41:570:42:01

because the left ear is a little bit off and the nose is a bit V-shaped.

0:42:010:42:06

So the good thing about it is that it can tell you exactly why

0:42:060:42:09

it thinks the sheep is in pain.

0:42:090:42:12

And then how does the farmer get this message?

0:42:120:42:15

Cos you've got a great group photo of all the sheep.

0:42:150:42:18

You say the one in the back left-hand corner half an hour ago

0:42:180:42:22

-didn't look very well and I come down and it's moved!

-Yeah, yeah.

0:42:220:42:25

So it can be easily tied to a reader that can identify

0:42:250:42:31

-the identification tags that are on the animal's ears.

-Yeah.

0:42:310:42:36

So you'll be able to link that to the video, identify the animal,

0:42:360:42:40

and tell me on my phone, "343's not feeling very well"?

0:42:400:42:44

-Yeah.

-Extraordinary.

0:42:440:42:46

I'm blown away by Krista and Marwa's work

0:42:480:42:51

and even at this early stage their model looks like it could be

0:42:510:42:54

a hugely useful tool in detecting signs of illness in the future.

0:42:540:42:59

I'm very impressed by the technology

0:42:590:43:01

and I suppose it's got to be the way forward for farming, hasn't it?

0:43:010:43:04

Absolutely. Having an automated system

0:43:040:43:06

just reduces some of the pressure that's on farmers at the moment.

0:43:060:43:09

But also it's an early indication that something might be wrong.

0:43:090:43:12

The earlier we can get in there to treat a problem,

0:43:120:43:15

it's more likely to be quicker at actually resolving itself.

0:43:150:43:18

And it's reducing any possible suffering that might be happening

0:43:180:43:20

for the sheep. So it's improving welfare all the time.

0:43:200:43:23

Animal welfare and efficiency, you know,

0:43:230:43:25

-really come hand-in-hand, don't they?

-Absolutely. Yeah.

0:43:250:43:28

Well, very impressive. Brilliant.

0:43:280:43:30

Anglesey.

0:43:470:43:49

The final frontier of the wild Welsh coast.

0:43:490:43:53

Set apart from the mainland, this island haven teems with wildlife.

0:43:530:43:59

It's also a stronghold for our native rare red squirrels.

0:44:020:44:06

In fact, Anglesey has the largest population of reds in Wales

0:44:060:44:10

and I've been told you can even catch a glimpse of them -

0:44:100:44:13

if you know what you're doing.

0:44:130:44:15

And this man does.

0:44:170:44:18

He's David Lacey, a big fan of red squirrels.

0:44:180:44:22

He lives on a small island in the Menai Strait

0:44:220:44:25

and his garden is a favourite with all sorts of wildlife.

0:44:250:44:29

But it's the red squirrels David's most fond of.

0:44:290:44:32

In fact, some say he charms them from the trees.

0:44:320:44:36

But red squirrels are famously elusive.

0:44:360:44:39

The idea that they would come and feed regularly from one spot...

0:44:390:44:41

I mean, how friendly are they?

0:44:410:44:43

Once they sort of get used to you,

0:44:430:44:45

and they seem to do that quite easily,

0:44:450:44:47

um, I suppose they start to trust you

0:44:470:44:49

and they'll come along and just take food from your hand as well.

0:44:490:44:52

-Take food from your hand?

-Yes.

-No way!

0:44:520:44:55

I'll be surprised if we even catch a glimpse of one.

0:44:550:44:58

Well, I hope they turn up. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

0:44:580:45:00

-Right, so, let's go to the squirrel spot.

-OK.

-O squirrel whisperer!

0:45:000:45:04

HE CHUCKLES

0:45:040:45:07

David has created the perfect alfresco squirrel dining area

0:45:070:45:10

on his garage roof, opposite some leafy woodland.

0:45:100:45:14

Yeah, this is where the feeder is, down here.

0:45:140:45:17

If we rattle the lid, they usually come along.

0:45:170:45:22

They normally come along within a few minutes.

0:45:250:45:28

And right on cue...

0:45:300:45:32

Oh, look, I think there's one over there.

0:45:330:45:36

He was sussing out the situation, wasn't he?

0:45:360:45:39

He was getting closer and closer.

0:45:390:45:42

WHISPERING: There, there, there. Was that one?

0:45:420:45:44

Hello.

0:45:440:45:45

OK.

0:45:450:45:46

Come on, then.

0:45:480:45:49

-Oop, here you go.

-They're quite lovely, aren't they?

-Mmm.

0:45:520:45:55

They're really good fun to watch.

0:45:580:46:00

Here he comes.

0:46:000:46:02

-Come on, then, come and get a nut.

-There he is. Hello, little fella.

0:46:020:46:06

Come on, then.

0:46:080:46:09

This one's tempted but he's not quite sure.

0:46:110:46:15

Can I get them to take a nut from my hand?

0:46:150:46:17

-Come on, squirrel.

-Here he comes.

0:46:200:46:22

-Oh, no.

-Almost.

0:46:290:46:31

Oh, it was so close, it was so close.

0:46:320:46:35

One last try.

0:46:350:46:37

There we go.

0:46:420:46:44

I just fed a red squirrel.

0:46:440:46:47

Incredible.

0:46:500:46:51

But there's a serious side to Dave's effort.

0:46:540:46:56

Getting up close to them like this

0:46:560:46:58

means he's often the first to spot any problems.

0:46:580:47:01

What he sees, he reports to the team at the Red Squirrels Trust Wales.

0:47:010:47:07

I'm heading out on patrol with Holly Peek, a Red Squirrel Ranger.

0:47:130:47:18

Today, she's working with the National Trust

0:47:180:47:20

at Plas Newydd estate.

0:47:200:47:23

-Hello, Holly, nice to see you.

-Hi, nice to see you.

0:47:230:47:25

Now, was having beautiful red hair part of the job description?

0:47:250:47:28

-Yeah, I had to dye it!

-It is amazing.

0:47:280:47:31

-And it is perfect as well, isn't it?

-It certainly suits, yeah.

-Blend in!

0:47:310:47:35

So what's the story about red squirrels on Anglesey?

0:47:350:47:38

Well, basically, about 21 years ago,

0:47:380:47:40

we had 40 red squirrels left on Anglesey.

0:47:400:47:42

Through a process of grey squirrel control

0:47:420:47:45

and a few red squirrel introductions,

0:47:450:47:46

including here at Plas Newydd,

0:47:460:47:48

we now have about 800 red squirrels all over the island.

0:47:480:47:50

-That's remarkable.

-Yeah.

-So why were they in decline?

0:47:500:47:53

Why were they not doing so well?

0:47:530:47:54

Because of the grey squirrel competition.

0:47:540:47:57

Greys were brought here from America at the end of the 19th century.

0:47:580:48:02

They're bigger and more dominant than the reds,

0:48:020:48:05

and outcompete them for food and habitat.

0:48:050:48:07

They also carry a pox which they're immune to

0:48:090:48:12

but which is deadly to the reds.

0:48:120:48:14

There are currently no grey squirrels on Anglesey,

0:48:150:48:18

but Holly and her team are not taking any chances.

0:48:180:48:21

So what we have been doing, with loads of volunteers -

0:48:240:48:27

volunteers are key to this -

0:48:270:48:28

is we've been putting camera traps all along the Strait

0:48:280:48:32

to keep an eye on the squirrels, to see if there's any signs of pox,

0:48:320:48:35

and also we are spreading the red population on the mainland.

0:48:350:48:39

So, just last year,

0:48:390:48:41

we had red squirrels in Snowdonia National Park for the first time

0:48:410:48:44

in 50 years, which is a huge step for the project.

0:48:440:48:46

So they're doing really, really well.

0:48:460:48:49

Plas Newydd estate has just recruited its first batch

0:48:490:48:53

of volunteer Red Squirrel Rangers.

0:48:530:48:56

Today, they're building feeder boxes for local people

0:48:560:48:59

to put in their gardens.

0:48:590:49:01

Holly is their mentor,

0:49:040:49:06

and one of her trainee rangers is Alison Hamilton.

0:49:060:49:09

You can see why they're doing so well,

0:49:100:49:12

because this is a wonderful playground, isn't it?

0:49:120:49:14

Absolutely fantastic, and the woodland is such a mixture of trees,

0:49:140:49:18

they absolutely love it here, and they really do seem to thrive.

0:49:180:49:21

So do red squirrels have sort of particular characteristics?

0:49:210:49:24

Yes, they certainly do.

0:49:240:49:25

My favourite fact is that you get left and right-handed squirrels.

0:49:250:49:28

What they do is they hold pine cones in their hands,

0:49:280:49:32

like us eating a corn on the cob, you can actually tell

0:49:320:49:34

whether they're right or left-handed by the way they eat the nuts.

0:49:340:49:38

That's fantastic, I had no idea! So tell me about what the plan is.

0:49:380:49:42

Because you're raising money for certain specific things, aren't you?

0:49:420:49:45

We are. We're running a red squirrel appeal. We're going to be putting it

0:49:450:49:48

towards a bridge for the squirrels so they can cross the road,

0:49:480:49:50

but also we're looking to build feeder boxes as well,

0:49:500:49:53

so the squirrels have a safe environment where they can feed

0:49:530:49:56

and where they can thrive.

0:49:560:49:58

This is a real conservation success story,

0:49:580:50:01

the island community pulling together to secure the future

0:50:010:50:05

of one of our rarest and best-loved species.

0:50:050:50:08

We've been very lucky with the weather today,

0:50:100:50:12

perfect for red squirrel spotting,

0:50:120:50:14

but what's it looking like for the week ahead?

0:50:140:50:16

Here's the Countryfile forecast.

0:50:160:50:18

MATT: We're on Anglesey in North Wales.

0:51:100:51:12

A rugged island with miles of stunning coastline.

0:51:120:51:17

Anglesey is home to a huge array of wildlife,

0:51:170:51:19

and there are so many ways in which you can experience it,

0:51:190:51:22

but today I'm not taking a wander along the coastal path,

0:51:220:51:25

or going for a boat trip.

0:51:250:51:27

I'm off for a little paddle.

0:51:270:51:29

Sian Sykes quit life in the city for life on the water.

0:51:320:51:37

She takes people like me wildlife spotting

0:51:370:51:39

using paddle boards to get up close.

0:51:390:51:42

-Hi, Matt, welcome to Anglesey.

-Nice to see you.

-Nice to see you.

0:51:430:51:46

-Are you all set?

-I think so. Well, you tell me.

0:51:460:51:49

Brilliant, you do look the part. Let's get on the water.

0:51:490:51:52

The Menai Strait is famous for its fast currents.

0:51:540:51:58

Thankfully, it's all looking nice and calm today.

0:51:580:52:02

OK, when you're ready, put your paddle on the other side

0:52:020:52:05

of the board, on your right, nearest to the boat.

0:52:050:52:08

That's it.

0:52:080:52:10

Keep looking up. Have you got Shakin' Stevens?

0:52:100:52:12

-I've got a little bit of a shaky leg thing going on.

-Elvis legs!

0:52:120:52:15

To be fair, I'm not really looking up at much wildlife at the moment!

0:52:150:52:19

I know it looks like a big board,

0:52:190:52:21

but I actually feel like I'm on a cocktail stick.

0:52:210:52:24

-If you can...

-It's actually very enjoyable, isn't it?

-It's lovely.

0:52:240:52:27

It's totally relaxing, cos to be honest with you,

0:52:270:52:30

you can't think about anything else! HE LAUGHS

0:52:300:52:32

You get into a very meditative state.

0:52:320:52:34

Yes, you're at one with your knees, that's for sure!

0:52:340:52:36

Conditions are perfect for paddling down the strait.

0:52:380:52:42

And being out on the sea has given Sian some rare experiences.

0:52:420:52:46

Is it right that you've actually paddled all the way around Anglesey?

0:52:460:52:50

Yes, and it was an amazing way to discover the coastline.

0:52:500:52:54

Do you ever see any porpoise or dolphins?

0:52:540:52:57

Oh, yes, around Anglesey I've spotted quite a few,

0:52:570:53:00

some up here, further up on the Menai Strait,

0:53:000:53:04

I've been fortunate to see porpoise and dolphins darting in the water,

0:53:040:53:07

feeding, and further down there, I've seen seals,

0:53:070:53:10

and they're very inquisitive, they like to come up and have a look.

0:53:100:53:13

-Yeah, I'm sure.

-Because we're not intrusive at all.

-Yeah, yeah.

0:53:130:53:17

And then over here on the left, on the island,

0:53:170:53:21

lots of oystercatchers, can you see them?

0:53:210:53:23

Oh, yeah, there's loads of them over there.

0:53:230:53:26

As well as Sian, there are others here on Anglesey

0:53:340:53:37

helping people to connect with nature.

0:53:370:53:40

Chris Barker from the Wildlife Trust set up Our Wild Coast,

0:53:400:53:44

a four-year project to teach young people

0:53:440:53:47

more about the island's wildlife.

0:53:470:53:50

From beach cleans and foraging to discovering life in rock pools,

0:53:500:53:54

the youngsters get very hands-on.

0:53:540:53:57

As well as physical benefits

0:53:580:54:00

of being involved in outdoor activities, it's also socialising,

0:54:000:54:03

developing skills like teamwork, leadership, communication,

0:54:030:54:06

all of those things that they do as part of these activities.

0:54:060:54:09

You can see how enthusiastic everybody is, and actually just...

0:54:090:54:13

As you say, just being at one with the environment.

0:54:130:54:16

And this contact with nature appears to be having a positive impact

0:54:160:54:19

on their schooling.

0:54:190:54:21

Many children are getting better grades in science subjects.

0:54:210:54:24

The red ones are called beadlet anemone,

0:54:240:54:27

and their name in Welsh is amazing.

0:54:270:54:28

-What is it?

-What is it?

-Buwch goch.

0:54:280:54:31

I know, interesting!

0:54:310:54:33

As the sun goes down, it's time to light the campfire

0:54:340:54:38

and cook up a seaweed treat.

0:54:380:54:40

And, right on cue, a not entirely unexpected guest arrives.

0:54:400:54:44

-How nice is this?

-Oh, Anita! Nice to see you.

-Camping!

0:54:440:54:48

-Here's my new friends.

-Hello, new friends.

0:54:480:54:51

-ALL:

-Hello!

0:54:510:54:53

Does anyone want to have a look at the menu before we start?

0:54:530:54:55

THEY LAUGH

0:54:550:54:56

Mmm! Good!

0:54:560:54:58

Oh, yeah, that's a nice texture, actually, isn't it?

0:54:580:55:00

-It's really good. Seaweed crisps!

-Oh, yeah, it's very...

0:55:000:55:03

Actually, it's quite oaky and salty... I really like that.

0:55:030:55:07

Michelle's not convinced!

0:55:070:55:08

But what a very pleasant way to end the day. Thank you, one and all.

0:55:080:55:11

That's all we've got time for from here on Anglesey.

0:55:110:55:14

Next week, we're going to be in Derbyshire,

0:55:140:55:16

where I'll be dropping in on a party that's a UK first,

0:55:160:55:19

alpacas will be centre stage,

0:55:190:55:21

and Helen will be having a go at weaseling.

0:55:210:55:23

-Oh! That's a "stoatally" new one for me.

-Hey!

0:55:230:55:26

So sorry.

0:55:260:55:28

Do join us next week, when all will be revealed.

0:55:280:55:31

-From all of us here, goodbye.

-See ya!

0:55:310:55:33

Matt Baker and Anita Rani are in Anglesey, where Matt is on the lookout for harbour porpoises. He meets scientist Peter Evans to find out why the waters round Anglesey are so good for a whole variety of marine mammals. He also meets the schoolchildren who've made it their mission to keep the islands beaches clear of plastic.

Anita meets 'squirrel whisperer' David Lacey, a man who has red squirrels literally eating out of his hands. Anita then heads out with fisherman John Jones to find out what's behind the boom in Menai mussels.

Tom Heap is looking at faux fur and asks how do we know it isn't real. And Adam Henson finds out how the latest facial recognition technology is helping farmers spot problems early with their livestock.

When is faux fur not fake? Well, more often than you'd think. Helen Skelton is investigating how real fur is making it into our shops and our wardrobes without us realising.


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS