Readers' letters - April 2

Picture: Mink by David Croasdale
Picture: Mink by David Croasdale
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Have your say

‘Mink aren’t so cute – they’re a big pest’

While appreciating the photographic skills of your reader David Croasdale (LP, March 28), who captured a mink – photographically speaking of course – in Yarrow Valley Country Park, I would question the caption of the mink being ‘cute’.
It is an invasive species which arrived on our shores in the 1920s but, due to escape from mink farms almost from the time when they got here, only the far North of Scotland is without this pest.
Not only is it invasive, it is a highly predatory animal feeding on native species such as small frogs, fish, water voles, moorhen and rabbits.
Indeed some would argue that the dramatic fall in the number of native water voles is down to high predation by this member of the weasel family.
As the species is now so abundant within the UK, complete eradication is futile, so the practice of controlled suppression of the species now takes place.
For example, it is illegal to release a captured mink back into the wild.
DEFRA do respond to ‘infestations’ of mink.
Indeed the presence of just one mink at a site probably means that there are a lot more in the same location.
Thus it may be a case of ‘enjoy’ seeing the mink in the Yarrow Valley Country Park while you can, as they may not be there much longer!
Oh, and do only capture them with your cameras, rather than trying the other form of capture.
They have a nasty bite.
If Richard Whiteley (host of Countdown) was still alive, he would tell you how painful the bite of one of the mink’s cousins, the ferret, is.
Neil Swindlehurst
Walmer Bridge

technology
Everything in moderation


Why is it that today older people are being made to feel that their views, values and particular skills they were brought up with are outdated and wrong?
I use a computer and am not afraid of technology but everyone, especially the young, are becoming too dependent on this impersonal form of communication.
Along with modern technology, the art of hand-writing and verbal communication should still be considered as important subjects to teach in schools as these skills will always be needed in whatever job one applies for.
Whenever I travel on public transport, I am saddened to see all the zombie-like people glued to their mobiles as they look as though they have been brainwashed and hardly notice anything going on around them. It is also highly dangerous as they wander across roads still staring at their phones.
They are missing out on so much and there is now clear documented evidence of the damage being done to health and sleep patterns by the over-use of mobiles and computer technology.
In a few years’ time when people’s health has been seriously affected, I have no doubt that those who gave out warnings, including doctors, will be proved right. It would be very difficult to do but restrictions need to be imposed on the use of all hi-tech gadgets, especially by young children, as we should not become too dependent on technology which can only be beneficial for us in the long term if used sensibly. Surely everything in moderation is the answer.
Susan Richardson
via email

environment
Balloon pollution


I have heard about balloons being released to remember people who have died.
My heart goes out to the grieving family and friends.
However, it is such a shame that whoever organises these events is apparently unaware that balloon releases are very damaging to wildlife.
Balloons don’t just drift away and vanish – they eventually fall and cause pollution, and can choke wildlife at sea and on land. Even balloons sold as ‘degradable’ can last for months, even years, whilst the strings and ribbons survive and cause a problem for far longer.
There are many ways to commemorate loved ones and to mark their passing, and I hope that other readers will now be persuaded that adding to the problem of litter in our sea and on land is not something that should be encouraged, however good the intention of a balloon launch may be.
For more information, see the Marine Conservation Society’s Don’t Let Go campaign: https://www.mcsuk.org/campaigns/dont-let-go
Sam Riches
Lancaster

language
Know your apostrophe

As advised by Lancaster City Council upon renewing my green bin subscription, I have read their terms and conditions. Garden waste includes many various items specified in these conditions.
What I fail to understand is why ‘tree lopping’s’ (sic) is the only plural that in the eyes of the council warrants an apostrophe.
Surely, for the money we pay them, we might expect a higher level of education from our town hall executives.
Gordon Arkwright
Torrisholme