Wildlife photographer voices impact of firework displays at Coombe Abbey  - The Coventry Observer

Wildlife photographer voices impact of firework displays at Coombe Abbey 

A LOCAL semi-professional wildlife photographer has raised serious concerns over the impact of firework displays on wildlife at Coombe Abbey Country Park.

Gary Haigh, who frequently photographs the park’s diverse animal and bird populations for the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), said they were alarmed to discover a large firework display set up close to the park’s main lake on the evening of Saturday, June 1.

Coombe Abbey, home to the UK’s 11th largest heronry, is a crucial habitat for a variety of bird species, many of which are currently in the breeding season with young fledglings and hatchlings present.

Gary spent eight hours photographing breeding herons by the top pool before noticing the firework setup as he was leaving at 7pm and he said the display began at 10:10 pm, much to his dismay.

Gary said: “I find it abhorrent that people in authority have decided to allow such a firework display, not only one so close to the birds but, allowing one at all is simply madness and causes panic and fear amongst the wildlife in the park, not just the birds but all the mammals as well.

“These displays can also cause chicks to die from fright.”




Believing the display was part of a wedding celebration, he questioned the prioritisation of revenue over wildlife welfare.

He noted the park’s ongoing commercial activities, including the Go Ape treetop adventure course and the Luminate winter light show, which he claims already disrupt the natural habitat.


He added: “I live just two miles away in Wyken and heard the explosions from my home.

“As it was simply a series of large explosions more akin to the second world war, god only knows what the parks wildlife had to endure?”

 

A council spokesperson commented: “Firework displays for weddings and events at Coombe Abbey Hotel have taken place for many years.

“We have a rich and diverse range of birds and other wildlife that have made the park their home, including repeat breeding herons, swans, coots, moorhens, and other waterfowl on the moat and lake.

“Over recent years, we have also attracted new bird species, including Little Egret and Great White Egrets, clearly demonstrating that a country park like Coombe can run a range of events and activities and support a wide range of wildlife.”

Gary emphasised the need for the park’s management to prioritise animal welfare over commercial interests and urged for an immediate halt to firework displays.

“The wildlife at Coombe Abbey cannot speak for itself, so I am speaking on their behalf.”

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