1. This will make you laugh… : Apr 24th, 2014

      Brendan Healy
      Flirting with conservation.
      Last week I saw two posts on Facebook about canines. The first was a link to a fascinating report about the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park in America and how it had completely rebalanced the whole eco-system in ways that surprised even the experts themselves. One example was that the wolves preying on the deer had caused the deer to move around the park in different ways, which meant that trees and shrubs on certain river banks had not been eaten, which in turn meant there was less soil erosion and that the river had reverted to a more natural course. Fascinating stuff. It had about about 7 likes. The other post was a picture of someone’s pet Pug in a French maid costume. It had about a million likes. It’s enough to make a grown man eat his own head.
      The idea of reintroducing wolves is, I think, a brilliant idea. I suggest a pilot scheme whereby a wolf pack is released in Newcastle City Centre on a Friday night. They would then roam the city centre picking off the slower drunks whilst the more sober flee. Apart from being a hilarious spectator sport it would demonstrate Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection in action.  After this we could extend the scheme nationwide and then apart from drunks we would find that the urban fox would become a thing of the past, and in the countryside the over-abundance of badgers would be reduced to a normal level without any more governmental quiverings.
      Of course we would have to give our new pal the wolf somewhere proper to live and once Kielder Forest was full we would have to reforest the Lake District, which would really annoy all the people who make cagoules and tents ‘cos people would stop going there on their holidays in case they got eaten. This would have the added benefit of reducing hotel and food prices in Keswick and Ambleside, making the Lake District an affordable place to visit once again, albeit with less chance of returning home.
      The reality is that wolves are rather shy creatures and it is highly unlikely you would bump into one in the Galleries Shopping Centre, Washington. Also, their population is likely to keep itself in check as a wolf pack doesn’t like other wolf packs very much. Saying this, the wolves will evolve, they will get the hang of rush hour traffic jams and realise that if they sit by the side of the A1 next to the Metro Centre at certain times of the day their food will be delivered to them pre-packed in tins, or as we call them cars. Opening car doors is just a matter of evolutionary time and with this much convenience food, hey ho, too many wolves.
      Which brings me to the next solution in Brendan’s world of conservation. Bears.
      Bears are an apex predator and would be happy to eat wolves, drunks and pre-packed businessmen, so they would finally restore the wonderful balance that all true conservationists have been striving for. They will also eat cats, dogs, red squirrel, water voles and other endangered species as they aren’t fussy and can’t read. This does not make them bad, just natural.
      So, in Brendan’s world of conservation, the future will be secure if we simply re-introduce the wolf and the bear and re-forest the whole countryside. Hang on, isn’t that where we started?
      My friend Tony Washington, a great singer, comedian and Bobby Thompson impersonator sent me a brilliant new Ashington joke which I now pretend I wrote.
      I was in a swimming pool in Ashington chatting up this lovely girl and she said ‘Are you flirting?’ and I said ‘No, I’ve got one foot on the bottom.’