HELEN BURTON: Issues at the Olympics and our bee colonies

Helen Burton SUS-160113-100959001
Helen Burton SUS-160113-100959001

I was horrified to hear this week that at the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games in Rio a jaguar was paraded around as part of the torch ceremony. She was a female jaguar called Juma who normally resided at a zoo which is part of the Brazilian army’s jungle warfare training centre.

It is inconceivable to me that anyone thought using an endangered animal in this way was appropriate. The poor creature must have been terrified, and as a result she then managed to escape her handlers and was shot dead. Heart-breaking, and a clear example of why we need to stop using animals for our entertainment. Hopefully the bad publicity, public outrage and resulting petitions will mean that animals like Juma won’t ever be used again in Olympic ceremonies, but the realisation that we shouldn’t exploit animals in this way has come too late for Juma.

In better news, my faith in humanity was slightly restored when I learnt that there is a team of refugees at the Olympics this year. Ten athletes will be representing 65 million people without a country to call home. One of the athletes is Yusra Mardini who will take part in various swimming events, but just last year she was swimming for her life during the treacherous boat journey from Syria to Greece. She then went on to Berlin where she joined the local swimming club and now, she is an Olympic competitor in Team Refugee, giving hope to millions of displaced people all around the world. What an inspiration.

Closer to home, one of the local projects I work on has made huge progress in the last week. Incredible Edible Pevensey and Westham have just sited the first bee colonies at Pevensey Apiary. We now have several colonies on site which will improve the ecology of the area for up to four miles around as the bees forage and increase pollination locally. If you want to know more about the project or fancy volunteering, we would love to hear from you! On Saturday August 13 we are meeting at Pevensey Recreation ground car park, Wallsend Road, Pevensey at 10am, from where will we take the short walk to the site. PJ Skips has kindly given us a skip free of charge so that we can get rid of some of the rubbish from the site. We will be working for a couple of hours and then stopping for a picnic. Pevensey apiary is a fantastic local project but we would love more volunteers. If you can’t come on Saturday we also work at the site from 10am every Tuesday and Thursday, meeting at the same car park first and again, the more the merrier! We are a friendly bunch and everyone is free to work at their own pace – including lots of talk about bees and ecology and many breaks for a cup of tea to enjoy the surroundings! Email incrediblepaw@aol.com for more information. Hope to see you there!