The Ecologist

 

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Bovine TB begins and ends with cattle, with badgers playing at most a minor role. Photo: Will Fisher via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Dodgy data, bad science, rotten politics: why the badger cull is wrong and stupid

Tom Langton

28th April 2016

If we are ever to bring bovine TB under control in Britain's cattle herd, we must begin with the main disease reservoir, writes Tom Langton: the cattle themselves. The insistence on culling badgers has little to do with disease control, and everything to do with the short term economics of the beef and dairy industries, unwilling to sacrifice an iota of production in the interests of a real solution. more...
Cambodian army soldiers attack Chut Wutty, November 2011. Photo: Vanessa de Smet Last Line Productions / N1M.

Banned: premiere of film probing Cambodian ecodefender's murder

Rod Harbinson

21st April 2016

A film investigating the 2012 murder of a forest defender has been banned by the Cambodian Government, writes Rod Harbinson. Chut Wutty's campaign to protect the forest on which his community depends clashed with powerful business and military interests. A first attack by soldiers was held off by campaigners, but more...
US soldiers perform a platoon mounted and dismounted live-fire exercise at Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany Oct. 6, 2010. Photo: Gertrud Zach / The U.S. Army via Fliclr (CC BY).

Thought for Earth Day: whether it's badgers or Trident missiles, shooting solves nothing

Linda Pentz Gunter

20th April 2016

Why do we humans resort to shooting, whenever a challenging problem confronts us? Whether it's culling badgers to protect hedgehogs, or renewing the Trident missile threat with expensive upgrades, our species seems determined to upset the balance of nature and harmony on Earth by shooting first - and never asking the questions at all. more...
Anti badger cull demo in Oxford, 25th October 2014. Photo: Snapshooter46 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Badger cull: protestors' legal right to information upheld

Lesley Docksey

1st April 2016

Since December 2011, when it became clear that the government was intent on its badger cull, Defra and Natural England have been flooded with FOI requests about how the culls would be set up, conducted and monitored. The notable success of Anna Dale in cutting through official obfuscation has implications for everyone trying to protect the environment and wildlife. more...
A young lion cub resting in Massai Mara National reserve, Kenya. Photo: Ralf Κλενγελ via Flickr (CC BY-NC)

Africa's lions and pastoralists share the benefits of community ecotourism

Grant Hopcraft & Sara Blackburn

5th April 2016

The conflict between lions and Africa's cattle herders goes back centuries, write Grant Hopcraft and Sara Blackburn - and lions have been the big losers in recent years. But where local people benefit from ecotourism, that ancient enmity can quickly be set aside. 'Community conservancies' around formal protected areas are helping both lions and indigenous communities to survive and thrive. more...
The Rio Blanco community at its blockade of the Agua Zarca dam. Photo: COPINH.

Gustavo Castro Soto and the rigged investigation into Berta Cáceres’s assassination

Beverly Bell

23rd March 2016

The Government of Honduras is intent on framing the only witness to the murder of Berta Cáceres as the one guilty of the crime, writes Beverly Bell. Gustavo Castro Soto, an eco-defender from Mexico, is now in effective detention in his country's embassy in Tegucigalpa in fear of his life, having himself been injured in the attack and seen the real assassin. The US Government must break its resounding silence. more...
Beaver in the Highland Wildlife Park, Scotland. Photo: Dunnock_D via Flickr (CC BY-NC)

Beavers and the coming revolution in Scotland's countryside

Louise Ramsay

8th March 2016

After beavers' reintroduction to Scotland, landowners have accused the native rodents of damaging the environment, causing floods, and worse, writes Louise Ramsay. But the public have rallied to the cause of these charming, beneficial creatures, leaving conservative landowners isolated. Could the shift in sentiment trigger long overdue change in the Scottish countryside? more...
British badger - will the BVA's Animal Welfare Strategy provide any protection? Photo: Ian Usher via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Vets - rethink your support for English badger culls!

Mark Jones

4th March 2016

The British Veterinary Association has just launched its long-anticipated Animal Welfare Strategy, writes Mark Jones - and very welcome it is too. But it's also completely incompatible with the BVA's support for England's cruel and utterly unscientific badger culls. It's time for an urgent rethink. more...
Monarch butterfly on Milkweed. Photo: bark via Flickr (CC BY).

Monarch butterfly decline: the overwhelming case for banning glyphosate

Eva Sirinathsinghji / ISIS

2nd March 2016

Monarch butterfly numbers are dwindling despite protection of their wintering forests in Mexico, and voluntary schemes to restore their food plant, milkweed, in US field margins, writes Eva Sirinathsinghji. These measures alone are insufficient: no less than an end to the mass spraying of glyphosate on crops, predicated by 'Roundup-ready' GM corn and soy, will do. more...
Dairy farm in Somerset, a county with a high bTB incidence. The farm has a certain dilapidated rustic charm, but it's hardly an environment in which strict biosecurity can be guaranteed. Photo: Elliott Brown via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Tall stories: BBC's anti-science support for badger culling

Lesley Docksey

2nd March 2016

A programme to be broadcast on BBC2 promoting badger culling as the answer to bovine TB is praised in the corporation's flagship Radio Times, writes Lesley Docksey. But both are criticised by experts for their inaccuracy and bias. The main reservoir for bTB is, and always has been, the cattle themselves - and that's where the real solutions begin. more...
A huge wild bee hive in Indian forest. Photo: Karunakar Rayker via Flickr (CC BY).

Climate change is killing off India’s bees

Pramila Krishnan

1st March 2016

A warming climate and the loss of natural areas are driving Indian bee colonies to the brink, writes Premila Krishnan. Losing this cousin of our European honeybee could be disastrous, as rural communities depend on their honey for food and income, and the bees perform vital pollination services. more...
Signs of beavers in riparian woodland near  Tumba, Stockholm, Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Holmberg via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Give beavers permanent British residence!

Nigel Willby & Alan Law, University of Stirling

28th February 2016

Beavers are Britain's native aquatic engineers and their return to sites in Scotland and England is doing wonders for the local environment, write Nigel Willby & Alan Law: restoring wetlands, recreating natural river dynamics and ecology, filtering farm pollutants from water, and improving habitat for trout and other fish. more...

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At least Canterbury's badgers will be safe, for now. Photo: Ian Blacker via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Shoot first, ask no questions later: more badger culling, less science

Lesley Docksey

23rd February 2016

With 29 applications for new badger culls, writes Lesley Docksey, the government still has no idea how many badgers there are in the cull areas, or how many of them have TB. Nor does it want to find out. The badger culling project is getting less scientific by the day - or should that be by the square kilometre? more...
A fallen tree in the Bialowieza National Park, Poland. The orange mushroom (Laetiporus sulphureus) in front is edible and known as 'chicken of the woods'. Photo: Frank Vassen via Flickr (CC BY).

Timber! Poland's bid to increase logging 8-fold in primeval Bialowieza Forest

Zachary Davies Boren / Greenpeace Energydesk

18th February 2016

Poland's environment ministry has a plan for a huge increase in logging in Europe's last great primeval forest, writes Zachary Davies Boren. Officials claim it's to control bark beetles. But ecologists say the insects are regulated naturally within the forest ecosystem, while logging threatens huge damage to irreplaceable biodiversity. more...
Why did the badger cross the road? Maybe to get away from an Environment Secretary on a personal mission of death and destruction to Britain's wildlife. Photo: Badger in the Quantock Hills of Somerset by Mark Robinson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Truss's decision: badger culling will continue, with no evidence it works

Lesley Docksey

5th January 2015

Sneaked out shortly before MP's Christmas recess, the Government's decision to 'carry on culling' badgers with no evidence that the slaughter is reducing the incidence of bovine TB is a travesty of process, writes Lesley Docksey. But it does have one useful outcome - it has exposed Defra's claims that the cull is 'science-led' as arrant nonsense. Science never even got a look in. more...
A beaver pond in Bamff, Scotland. Photo: Paul Ramsay / beaversatbamff.blogspot.co.uk.

Time to bring back Nature's flood management engineer - the beaver

Louise Ramsay

30th December 2015

As climate change brings more rain, Britain is suffering from the extinction here of our native flood engineer - the beaver. Louise Ramsay says it's high time to re-introduce these charismatic rodents all over Britain. more...
Female Agapostemon sp. sweat bee, Oregon, USA. Photo: Thomas Shahan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Farm expansion driving US native bee declines

Beyond Pesticides

28th December 2015

Wild bee decline is closely associated with the advance of intensive farming and habitat loss, a new study shows. It follows an earlier paper that linked 'delayed action' decline of wild bees to exposure to pesticides including fungicides - previously considered 'bee-safe'. more...
Two mature bulls amid wild flowers on the Partido de Resina bull-breeding estate in Spain. In the background, intensively managed orange and olive plantations run up to the estate boundary. Photo: Robin Irvine.

Bullfighting is conserving Spain's biodiversity - ban at nature's peril

Robin Irvine, University of St Andrews

28th December 2015

Bullfighting may cause suffering to animals, but that does not mean the EU should ban it or withdraw farm subsidies, writes Robin Irvine. Traditional bull-breeding estates are valuable reservoirs of biodiversity in intensively farmed landscapes, and without the bulls there would be nothing to sustain them. more...
Badger at the British Wildlife Centre, Newchapel, Surrey. Photo: Peter Trimming via Flickr (CC BY).

So badger culls are working? Liz Truss, produce your evidence!

Oliver Tickell

18th December 2015

Environment Secretary Liz Truss told Parliament yesterday that England's badger cull is 'working', and needs to be extended into new areas, writes Oliver Tickell. Yet she and the NFU have refused to release the evidence to back up her claims. Now MPs and NGOs are joining the cry: 'publish or be damned!' more...
Photo: Arath Kuchi via Flickr (BY-SA)

India's top GMO regulator's 'Contempt of Court' over GM mustard trials

Colin Todhunter

15th December

India's Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee stands accused of Contempt of Court for evading Supreme Court orders to carry out full biosafety tests on GM crops and publish its data, writes Colin Todhunter. The immediate issue is a herbicide tolerant GM mustard now approved for large scale trials, while earlier findings remain under an impenetrable veil of official secrecy. more...
Tiger cub on the Sundarbans, Bangladesh. Photo: Arindam Bhattacharya via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Coal plant threatens world's largest mangrove forest - and Bangladesh's future

Mowdud Rahman & Greig Aitken

10th December 2015

As COP21 reaches its endgame, there are plans to build 2,440 coal-fired power plants around the world, write Mowdud Rahman & Greig Aitken. Their completion would send global temperatures, and sea levels, soaring. Yet Bangladesh, the world's most 'climate vulnerable' large country, has plans for a 1.3GW coal power plant on the fringes of its World Heritage coastal wetlands. more...
Yellowstone Bison. Photo: Jitze Couperus via Flickr (CC BY).

Bloodbath in Yellowstone: the park's plan to slaughter 1,000 wild bison

George Wuerthner

14th December 2015

Yellowstone Park is home to America's last pure-bred wild bison, writes George Wuerthner. Yet the Park's management is planning to kill around a thousand of these precious animals this winter. Ostensibly it's to protect cattle on public lands near the park from brucellosis. But bison have never been known to transmit the disease to them. The real reason is to keep all the pasture for livestock. more...
Artwork: 'Roots amd Wings' by Angela Marie Henriette via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

A People's Pact to Protect the Planet

Vandana Shiva

2nd December 2015

We cannot rely on governments in meeting in Paris to solve the many-headed climate problem, writes Vandana Shiva. It's up to us to safeguard the future of the Earth, and of our own and other species. So let's all join in this pact to love and protect our one and only home. more...
In the dark: a badger in Pembrokeshire snaffles up a tasty snack. Photo: Chris Frewin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

In the dark: badger cull cost-benefit report is state secret

The Ecologist

2nd November 2015

The Government has refused to publish its report on the cost effectiveness of England's badger cull because it is 'still in draft form'. Campaigners say the real reason is that it reveals the cull to be cruel, ineffective and incredibly expensive. more...
No shortage of biodiversity here - Rapture Reef sits within the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. The monument encompasses more than 140,000 square miles of ocean and coral reef habitat. Photo: NOAA's National Ocean Service via Flick

Can we halt biodiversity loss in 15 years? Yes we can!

Richard Pearson, UCL

12th November 2015

Is the aspiration to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2030 - enshrined in the UN's new Sustainable Development Goals - a fairy tale? It's ambitious, writes Richard Pearson, but there are plenty of signs that the world is acting effectively to conserve its endangered habitats and species. With extraordinary effort, we can do it. more...

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