I’m on a walk through the grounds of a nature reserve during the afternoon and spotting a butterfly and then a coontail. Both are tame and don’t attract much attention, but I fear the smiley Coontail will not be so lucky — it is very territorial and can easily cause significant damage. Who has powers of discretion and to allow the fairy grouper back into its habitat when it’s killing rare plants and butterflies? We feel we should at least be able to visit on leisurely, leisurely walks. I know there’s no choice other than putting up the sign, as I suspect nobody will make any difference, but if there was no sign, the fence could be put back up without anyone knowing.
Don’t worry, we are professionals and rule changes are made on a daily basis. It’s the mistake-reading population that worries us.We didn’t mention we’re former wildlife officers. According to our code, we must understand and acknowledge the two types of people: those with awareness and those with awareness without awareness. Only those with awareness without awareness will risk triggering people with overt, and not just ignorant, knowledge of what we mean when we tell them to put away their phones. Our code is not, as you imply, to allow access to anyone without anybody’s permission — and certainly nobody’s unless you give permission. If you want to go leisurely on your own, maybe try gander-walking. It’s much gentler than woodland walks, and you can use the trails without a special-access badge. Please don’t send us complaints.
P.s. Normally we are liaising with the wildlife department at the local wildlife trust, who are responsible for regulation of nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries and for protection of wildlife in those facilities. Anyone who is carrying out any kind of activities in a nature reserve that could affect wildlife is advised to keep out.
Photograph: P Kartik
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