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Fireworks frighten animals

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screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-11-25-55RSPCA CYMRU is issuing advice for pet owners in the run up to bonfire night.

Sadly, it is not just companion animals that are affected by fireworks. Farm animals also can be easily frightened by loud noises and sudden flashes of bright light, which can startle them and cause them to injure themselves on fencing, farm equipment or, in the case of housed animals, on fixtures and fittings within the house.

It is also likely that fireworks will cause a disturbance to wild animals such as waterfowl and is likely to cause suffering or distress, depending on the distance from the fireworks and the noise level. Furthermore, wildlife can be burnt alive after making their home in bonfires.

Lisa Richards, RSPCA welfare expert , said: “Countless pet owners will be dreading the run up to bonfire night because of the distress it causes to their animals.

“But there are ways to help your pets learn to be less afraid of loud noises. Planning ahead and speaking to your vet about the options available is a great start.

“Firework phobia is a treatable condition; pets do not have to suffer in misery every year.

“There are also some simple things worried owners can do to help their pets cope, including making sure dogs and cats are indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off, that they’re microchipped in case they do escape, trying to mask the noise of the fireworks by turning on the TV or music, and providing pets with a safe place to hide at all times.

“Small animals that live outside should have lots of extra bedding so they can burrow and some of their enclosure could be covered by a blanket for extra insulation and sound-proofing.”

RSPCA Cymru, along with South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, is urging pet owners to keep their cats and dogs safe indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off to prevent injury or escape.

Matt Jones, Head of Fire Crime at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, commented: “We understand that fireworks are an exciting addition to Halloween and Bonfire celebrations, but we ask people to be aware of the risks involved. We encourage our communities to attend organised displays at local venues and to not be tempted to buy fireworks from friends or colleagues over a reputable retailer; these illegal fireworks pose a danger to you and your family, as well as potentially your home.

“We ask our communities to avoid placing their rubbish outside the night before collection to reduce deliberate refuse fires and to report any suspicious activity to the police on 101. Fireworks can also cause concern for our pets, so we hope our communities follow the advice of experts like RSPCA Cymru to keep their animals safe during this period.”

RSPCA Cymru is also asking organisers of firework events to be vigilant and give plenty of notice to people in the area. They would also ask for organisers to show some consideration and not let off any fireworks too close to places where animals are – for example, farm animals or zoos.

Wildlife can also be burned to death by bonfires so organisers should check them before lighting to make sure there are no wild animals using them as a hiding place. It helps to build the bonfire by hand and as near as possible to the time of lighting to ensure hedgehogs and other wildlife are not sleeping in the pile when it is lit.

Sky lanterns can also be popular at this time of year, but can harm wildlife, livestock and other animals by causing injuries that lead to suffering and a slow painful death. RSPCA Cymru strongly advises against their use and recommends that harmless alternatives are sought to prevent injury, suffering and fatality of animals.

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Carmarthenshire’s sensory garden: why locals should embrace this wellness trend

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WITH ‘#sensorygarden’ 499.1k views on TikTok – locals have the advantage of experiencing a sensory garden on their doorstep at the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Wildlife experts explain why you should visit.

Wildlife expert Sean McMenemy shares how sensory gardens can do wonders for our wellness whilst providing a safe haven for wildlife and encourages Carmarthenshire locals to visit their local sensory garden this autumn.

A sensory garden is an outdoor space that stimulates the five senses of sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste, and can be created in your own garden. Sensory gardens at home remain relatively rare, but the trend is growing with the TikTok hashtag ‘#sensorygarden’ amassing 499.1k views*. 

Carmarthenshire, dubbed the Garden of Wales, has a huge array of beautiful green spaces to explore. It’s home to the National Botanic Garden of Wales which spans a huge 568 acres, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The stunning Great Glasshouse features a sensory trail that explores the largest single-span greenhouse in the world! From fluffy flowers from South Africa to a strongly scented Australian plant, it’ll engage all your senses. 

Having recently gifted King Charles with a beautiful oak sapling, the National Botanic Garden of Wales care deeply about the nation’s natural heritage. For those visiting the garden, the paths are wheelchair accessible with manual wheelchairs available on site. Open 10am – 6pm every day of the week.

Wildlife expert and founder of bird food provider Ark Wildlife, Sean McMenemy, explains the benefits of sensory gardening: “Sensory gardens provide a great deal of physical and mental benefits for different people and purposes. From getting vitamin D from sunlight to improving physical fitness by maintaining a garden, there are several physical benefits. Mentally, you can benefit from a mood boost and relaxation by spending time surrounded by calming stimulation.

“Sensory gardens can also have huge benefits for children, older people, those with learning disabilities and those who struggle with their physical and mental health. You can also create a sensory garden for your pets and garden wildlife!”

Top tips for creating your own sensory garden

If you do have the outdoor space, creating your own sensory garden is therapeutic in itself and doesn’t need to be a complicated process. The most important thing is to ensure that the garden engages all five senses. 

Melody Estes, landscape design gardening supervisor, says: “Whether you’re new to gardening or a seasoned pro, you can always improve your garden by adding some sensory elements.” 

Here are some tips from Melody for creating a sensory garden:

Sight – Plant colourful flowers that change with the seasons.

Sound – If you have a fountain or water feature on your property, consider adding some relaxing music to play alongside it. You could also place chimes near your front door to welcome people in.

Smell – Use scent. Consider planting scented flowers or herbs like lavender, rosemary and thyme that will give off a lovely aroma when they bloom.

Touch – Mix textures. The texture of plants can be as important as their colour and shape. Try using plants with soft leaves like ferns or grasses that are texturally different.

Taste – Planting herbs, fruits and vegetables not only provide tasty treats, but is a sustainable source of food.

Sean McMenemy adds: “Sensory gardens are an easy way to engage with wildlife and the outdoor environment. Growing your own plants and vegetables provides countless ways to learn about the natural world.

“You can bring your sensory garden to life by using bird feeders to attract beautiful feathered friends into your garden. They’ll bring the sound element to your sensory garden naturally. Fragrant flowers will attract colourful butterflies and other pollinators to your garden, giving you something to observe whilst helping nature to thrive.”

Some people may not have the time, money or space to create their own sensory garden. However, those with balconies and window ledges can still plant colourful, sweet-smelling flowers and edible plants. This mini sensory garden can still provide the benefits and satisfaction of an outdoor garden.

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Prince and Princess of Wales to visit Wales

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THE PRINCE and Princess of Wales have planned a trip to Wales to visit a variety of communities across the nation and learn about the work of key charitable organisations. 

The Prince and Princess have a deep affection for Wales, having made their first family home in Anglesey, and have thoroughly enjoyed their previous visits and the warmth and kindness shown by the Welsh people. 

Their Royal Highnesses are looking forward to spending more time in Wales over the next few years, they hope to strengthen their relationship with communities in all parts of Wales. 

During their first engagement, Their Royal Highnesses will visit the RNLI Holyhead Lifeboat Station, where they will meet crew, volunteers and some people who have been supported by their local unit.

Holyhead is one of the three oldest lifeboat stations on the Welsh coast and has a remarkable history of bravery, having received 70 awards for gallantry. 

Their Royal Highnesses will then take a short walk to the Holyhead Marine and Cafe Bar, where they will meet local people, including representatives of small businesses and organisations, including the Coastguard and Sea Cadets. 

In their second engagement, the Prince and Princess of Wales are expected to visit Swansea. 

Their Royal Highnesses will visit St Thomas Church, a re-developed church in Swansea which supports people in the local area and across the City and County of Swansea. 

Over the last two years the church has been transformed into a thriving community hub and is home to a vast array of services, including:

  • A foodbank which supports over 200 people per week
  • Swansea Baby Basics which distributes essential items for vulnerable mothers across the city, such as toiletries and clothes
  • Facilities for the homeless including food, showers and toilets
  • A not-for-profit cafe and community training kitchen
  • A surplus food distribution network which collects food from supermarkets at the end of each day and distributes it from the church to prevent food waste and to help end food poverty

As part of their visit, Their Royal Highnesses will meet those volunteering at the church across different initiatives including Baby Basics and the foodbank. Their Royal Highnesses will also spend some time meeting members of the public gathered outside the church. 

The Princess of Wales has previously worked with Baby Banks and the in summer of 2020 brought together 19 British brands and retailers to donate over 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks nationwide, operated by Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities. 

Her Royal Highness has visited a number of baby banks across the UK, including in London, Sheffield and West Norfolk where she has spent time speaking with families about their experiences of using their local baby bank services, as well as helping unload donations. 

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Carmarthenshire farmer dies following attack by bull near Llandeilo

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A FARMER has died following an incident with a bull on a farm in Llandeilo.

The 58-year-old, named locally as Maldwyn Harrier, was attacked by the animal during a TB test on Friday morning.

Police have confirmed that they were called to a farm in the Penybanc area of Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, and are investigating alongside the Health and Safety Executive. 

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