The Ecologist


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The voice of the people? Protester on the People's Assembly March Against Austerity 2014. Photo: The Weekly Bull via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Will the badger cull cost the Tories the election? It certainly should!

Dominic Dyer

16th March 2015

David Cameron has called the badger cull is 'probably the most unpopular policy for which I am responsible', writes Dominic Dyer. But unable to break his pledge to landowners and the NFU, he has left Environment Secretary Liz Truss to fudge the issue until election time. Electorally fatal? So events may prove. more...
A clear-cut in Norrbotten Country, northern Sweden © Frédéric Forsmark.

Swedish wildlife extinction threat as loggers clear-cut 'old growth' forests

Alec Forss

11th February 2015

Sweden's biodiverse ancient forests will be largely wiped out within two decades, writes Alec Forss - and along with it will go thousands of species that depend on mature forest ecosystems. But with powerful logging companies riding roughshod over the law, regulators, politicians and certifiers, who is to stop the destruction before it's too late? more...
The poster for Suvival's 'Parks Need Peoples' campaign. Image: Survival International.

India's indigenous evictions - the dark side of the Jungle Book

Tom Linton

6th February 2015

While the world gears up for Jungle Book fever, something sinister is afoot in the forests of India, writes Tom Linton. No, not Shere Khan, but zealous officials illegally evicting indigenous communities from their ancestral forests in the name of 'conservation' - and to make way for tiger tourism. And it's happening across India putting millions of people under threat. more...
A rosier future for the high seas beckons. Photo: Moyan Brenn via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

UN talks begin on a new law to save our oceans

The Ecologist

30th January 2015

Countries at the UN have agreed to start formal negotiations on a new 'legally binding instrument' to conserve the biological riches of the high seas that cover 45% of planet Earth, and ensure their sustainable use for the benefit of all mankind. more...
A beaver in the River Otter, Devon, feeds on an overhanging willow branch. Photo: David Land via Devon Wildlife Trust.

Devon's beavers will stay wild and free

Oliver Tickell

28th January 2015

Natural England announced today that the wild beavers living on Devon's River Otter will be allowed to remain free under a 're-introduction' licence granted to Devon Wildlife Trust. more...
If only badgers could read. Photo: jayneandd (CC BY 4.0).

Fail - 2014 badger cull didn't kill enough badgers to be effective

Rosie Woodroffe

20th January 2015

Sneaked out just before Christmas, Defra's assessment of the 2014 badger cull inspired NFU leaders to claim 'success', writes Rosie Woodroffe. But the figures indicate the precise reverse: that too few badgers were killed to be effective against bovine TB, indeed the cull may even help to spread the disease. more...
4WDs and tourists in, tribal people out - Kanha Tiger Reserve, India, where the events of Kipling's  'Jungle Book' take place. Photo: © Survival.

India: 'Jungle Book' tribes illegally evicted from tiger reserve

The Ecologist

14th January 2015

Indigenous forest dwellers in India's iconic Kanha Tiger Reserve have suffered another round of illegal forced evictions at the hands of the country's Tiger Conservation Authority - a move that is threatening the future of the tigers themselves. more...
Old Bighorn ram on the banks of the North Fork of the Shoshone River after eating some of the first green grass of spring. Photo: Yellowstone Gate via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Who are the real 'eco-terrorists' on America's public lands?

George Wuerthner

27th January 2015

Ranchers can deliberately abuse public land and the wildlife that lives on it at will, writes George Wuerthner, confident that any breaches of the law are likely to be overlooked. But it's another thing altogether if you're trying to protect that land from destructive exploitation. Why the double standard? more...
Pipetting winegrape DNA samples in the lab during marker-assisted selection. Photo: Dan Ng (CC BY-SA).

GMO-free molecular genetics launch golden age of disease-resistant grapes

Andrew Walker

22nd February 2015

Advanced molecular genetic techniques are allowing scientists to breed disease resistance from wild grape varieties into susceptible domestic cultivars used for making wine, writes Andrew Walker. And it's all being done by conventional plant breeding accelerated by the use of DNA markers - with not a GMO in sight! more...
A dead Irrawaddy dolphin floats on the Harintana-Tembulbunia channel of the Sela River on 6th January 2015. Photo: Syed Zakir Hossain for the Dhaka Tribune.

As rivers re-open to shipping, oil threat to Bangladesh's Sundarbans forest continues

ASMG Kibria

9th January 2015

Bangladesh's Sundarbans forest, home of incredibly rich biodiversity, is under unprecedented threat, writes ASMG Kibria. The recent oil tanker capsize on the Shela river puts the forest at risk of widespread biodiversity loss, but just this week, the authorities re-opened the Shela river to shipping with no restrictions on hazardous cargoes. more...
Photo: Badgers in the wild by Tim Brookes via Flickr.

2014 badger cull failed - but the cull goes on

Oliver Tickell

18th December 2014

England's 2014 badger cull has failed to meet key targets for effectiveness with such low numbers of animals shot that TB spread is likely to be increased. But Defra boss Liz Truss insists the cull will go on regardless. more...
A reminder to conservation scientists: not only can one little nuclear bomb ruin your whole day, it can also wipe out a whole lot of biodiversity.

Nuclear power and biodiversity - don't forget WMD proliferation!

Dr Jim Green

18th December 2014

Nuclear energy is essential to preserve the world's biodiversity, according to 69 conservation scientists. But there's a mysterious omission in their analysis, writes Jim Green: nuclear weapons proliferation. And after a major exchange of nuclear bombs, and the 'nuclear winter' that would follow, exactly how much biodiversity would survive? more...

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An English badger cub, innocent as summer days are long. Photo: Peter Burnage via Flickr.

Badger cubs to be shot in new 'summer cull' plan

Damian Carrington / the Guardian

10th December 2014

England's 2015 trial badger cull will be moved to summer, writes Damian Carrington - when cubs are numerous and easy to shoot. The surprise move follows 2014's failed autumn culls, which missed their minimum kill targets. more...
Ian and Magqubu minding the nightly fire to protect against predators. Photo: .

River of Life: Ian Player, saviour of the white rhino

Nicola Graydon

5th December 2014

The white rhino is in deep trouble after a new surge of poaching. But the fact that it's there at all is largely thanks to one man: Ian Player, who saved the white rhino from near-certain extinction in the 1960's. Earlier this year Nicola Graydon met Dr Player at his home in South Africa, to record his last major interview. more...
Gnarled old trees with hollows are a vital habitat for marsupials. Photo: David Blair, Author provided.

Labor's election win opens the way to save Victoria's Central Highlands

Emma Burns, David Lindenmayer & Heather Keith

1st December 2014

Australia's Labor scored a big win in Victoria's election this weekend - and with the party's 'green' policies that's potentially good news for the state's exploited forests. Now's the time to keep campaigning for the early creation of a Great Forest National Park. more...
Photo: Badgers in the wild by Tim Brookes via Flickr.

Badger Trust claims victory in the court of public opinion

The Ecologist

3rd November 2014

The Court of Appeal last month ruled that England's Badger cull is lawful despite the lack of independent supervision. But on the eve of a fresh Parliamentary debate, and with public opinion backing the badgers all the way, the Badger Trust is the clear winner where it really matters - in public hearts and minds. more...
Eurasian Beaver Castor fiber in a Swedish lake. Photo: Tim Ellis via Flickr.

FoE sues to keep Devon's wild beavers free

Oliver Tickell

24th October 2014

Friends of the Earth has filed a lawsuit to challenge Natural England's secretive grant of a licence allowing the Government to trap wild beavers on the River Otter in Devon. more...
Never mind the questions, never mind the answers, never mind the evidence. The badgers will be culled. Photo: b/flickr, CC BY-NC-SA.

Unlawful, ineffective, toxic: the badger cull must end - vaccination is the answer

Dominic Dyer

10th October 2014

The Badger Trust' is in the Court of Appeal today, making its case that the 2014 'trial' badger cull is unlawful, writes Dominic Dyer. But beyond that, the entire culling policy is driven by politics, not science, and is doomed to failure. It's time for Cameron to harness his 'big society' to apply a genuine solution: badger vaccination. more...
A good day in the countyside? Seven brace of pheasant. Photo: Mark Seton via Flickr.

In Defence of Life - standing up against the lust for culling wildlife

Lesley Docksey

14th Septmber 2014

British officialdom and those they serve are obsessed with the killing of wildlife, writes Lesley Docksey. It seems that whatever the 'problem', from bovine TB to the serendipitous arrival of beavers in Devon, the reflex is the same - to kill wild animals. But increasingly, the British people aren't having it. And our fightback is making waves .... more...
Never mind the questions, never mind the answers, never mind the evidence. The badgers will be culled. Photo: b/flickr, CC BY-NC-SA.

Badger cull fail - government throws science on the scrapheap

Rosie Woodroffe

9th September 2014

England's 2014 trial badger cull starts today - with no independent oversight, and no gathering of essential scientific data. The government's 'science-led' policy consists of asking scientists for help, writes Rosie Woodroffe - then completely ignore everything they said, and order them off the premises. more...
Badger seen at the British Wildlife Centre, Newchapel, Surrey. Photo: Peter Trimming via Flickr.

Labour will tackle bovine TB - without the mass killing of badgers

Huw Irranca-Davies

18th September 2014

Speaking in Stroud this week, Huw Irrancas-Davies MP delivered a withering attack on the Government's badger cull policy - and firmly committed a future Labour government to ending the badger cull, using measures to control bovine TB that are safe, effective, and humane. more...
The bloodied corpse of badger 200, whisked away before it could be retrieved by cullers and subjected to a post-mortem that showed it had been shot in the wrong place and suffered a slow and painful death.

Defying reality - Natural England authorises 'unlawful' cull

Lesley Docksey

27th August 2014

A High Court judgment on the lawfulness of the 2014 badger cull is awaited. A criminal investigation is under way on the dangerous and illegal behaviour of culling contractors. Obviously, writes Lesley Docksey, it's the perfect time for Natural England to authorise another round of culling. more...
The familiar and attractive flower of Himalayan balsam could be about to get a whole lot less common in the UK. Photo: CABI.

Parasitic fungus introduced to attack Himalayan balsam

Oliver Tickell

28th August 2014

Even if you love Himalayan balsam, it has surely become too much of a good thing as it takes over Britain's wetlands and riverbanks. But now it's facing a major setback - the deliberate introduction of a parasitic rust fungus from its native range in the mountains of Asia. more...
The Asian hornet is a voracious predator of bees - as if they were not suffering enough already! Photo:  Danel Solabarrieta, CC BY-SA.

Confronting the threat of invasive 'ecosystem engineers'

Jodey Peyton & Helen Roy

26th August 2014

Mussels, crabs, hornets and ... racoons? Future invasive species are not what you might expect, write Jodey Peyton & Helen Roy. In particular, we have to beware of 'ecosystem engineers' that can transform the environment they inhabit, creating ecological havoc for other species. more...
Letting the seeds grow free on a vegetable garden in BC, Canada. Photo: Christopher Porter via Flickr.

Free the seeds to feed the world!

Jack Kloppenburg & Irwin Goldman

20th August 2014

Patented and 'indentured' seeds are fast taking over the world's food supply, write Jack Kloppenburg & Irwin Goldman, terminating farmers' and gardeners' ancient right to develop new varieties, and forcing them to buy seed anew for every crop. Enter the Open Source Seed Initiative ... more...


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