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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...
White storks on road near Chernobyl, Ukraine. Many parts of the Chernobyl region have low radioactivity levels and serve as refuges for plants and animals. But other areas are acutely radiotoxic. Birds tend to be especially susceptible to radiation impact

At Chernobyl and Fukushima, radioactivity has seriously harmed wildlife

Timothy A. Mousseau, University of South Carolina

27th April 2016

Field studies show that the intense radioactivity released by the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters is seriously and unequivocally damaging to wildlife, writes Timothy A. Mousseau - in stark contrast to theoretical studies that show little or no impact on plant and animal health and populations. more...
Emerald ash borer is a saproxylic beetle native to Asia which feeds on Ash. Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr (CC BY)

The fungus and the beetle: ash trees face wipeout from disease double whammy

Steve Woodward & Eric Boa

29th April 2016

Britain's ash woods are under threat from a fast-spreading 'dieback' disease, write Steve Woodward and Eric Boa. With 3% of ash trees resistant to the fungus, the species should just be able to survive. But now scientists fear the arrival of the Emerald ash borer beetle, already infesting forests in the US and mainland Europe. Could the two combine to push our ash trees into extinction? more...
Water vole in Arundel, England. Photo: Peter Trimming via Flickr (CC BY).

Citizens' science to save our water voles - volunteers needed!

Emily Thomas & Nida Al-Fulaij / PTES

28th April 2016

UK water voles face an uncertain future after widespread habitat loss and predation by American mink, write Emily Thomas and Nida Al-Fulaij. But you can help by joining a UK-wide monitoring scheme run by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species that's recruiting nature-loving volunteers to survey local lakes, rivers, ditches and streams for signs of these lovable but elusive creatures. more...
Radioactivity warning sign on the hill at the east end of Chernobyl's Red Forest, so called due to the characteristic hue of the pine trees killed by high levels of radiation after the disaster. Photo: Timm Suess via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Blind mice and bird brains: the silent spring of Chernobyl and Fukushima

Linda Pentz Gunter

25th April 2016

Evolutionary biologist Timothy Mousseau and his colleagues have published 90 studies that prove beyond all doubt the deleterious genetic and developmental effects on wildlife of exposure to radiation from both the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. But all that peer-reviewed science has done little to dampen the 'official' perception of Chernobyl's silent forests as a thriving nature reserve. more...
The protection of our coastal waters, management of our fishers, cleanliness of our air and the protection of our widlife are all mandated by European law. Outside the EU, this iconic view of the Seven Sisters could be sadly tarnished. Photo: weesam2010 v

Remain in the EU to protect our environment

Caroline Lucas

20th April 2016

Remember when the UK was the 'dirty man of Europe'? What has changed since then, writes Caroline Lucas, is our membership of the EU - which has made us raise our environmental performance on everything from fisheries to air pollution, nature conservation, clean bathing waters and renewable energy. Leave, and it could all go into reverse. more...
Banggai Cardinalfish in their natural habitat. Photo: Fondation Franz Weber.

From coral reef to 'aquarium filler': the beauty of tropical fish is their doom

Monica Biondo / Fondation Franz Weber

15th April 2016

Gorgeous coral fish are to be seen everywhere, writes Monica Biondo, decorating aquariums in restaurants, doctors' offices and living rooms. The coral fish trade is booming! But it's destroying the reefs themselves, and driving many species to extinction. The Banggai Cardinalfish is among those unlikely to survive as this evil trade lays waste to them and their precious habitat. more...
Scottish wildcat out hunting at night. Photo: Adrian Bennett / Wildcat Haven.

Scotland's secret cat slaughter revealed in FOI documents

Oliver Tickell

12th April 2016

Documents released to Wildcat Haven reveal the secret plans of the Scottish Wildcat Action Plan - funded by taxpayers and the National Lottery - to kill trapped feral cats by shooting them in the head with shotguns. Public documents mention only neutering, successfully carried out by Wildcat Haven to protect pure wildcat populations. more...
How long before the entire Great Barrier Reef goes this way? Bleached coral at the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: John Howell via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Great Barrier Reef die-off - the latest harbinger of a global mass extinction?

James Dyke

12th April 2016

Large areas of the Great Barrier Reef are dying in what may be its greatest ever 'bleaching' event, writes James Dyke. The mass loss of the photosynthetic algae that sustain the coral is the result of this year's massive 'El Niño' perturbation to Pacific weather patterns, and global warming. Australia's response? The government has just approved leases for the world's biggest coal mine. more...
The Royal Oak of Teremiski, Bialowieza Forest. Photo: justyna via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

No 'salvage' logging in Poland's ancient forest!

Lucinda Kirkpatrick

4th April 2016

Poland is intent on a huge increase in logging in Europe's greatest ancient forest, writes Lucinda Kirkpatrick. The government says it's needed to control spruce bark beetles. But the insect is a key part of the ecosystem, creating woodpecker nest sites and habitat for other endangered species. In truth it's just a big timber grab that must be strongly resisted. more...
Mother and daughter: bison in the Yellowstone National Park. Photo: Bill Lile via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Buffalo slaughter in Yellowstone and the death of a spirit animal

Louise Willcox

5th April 2016

North American buffalo are officially 'vulnerable to global extinction', writes Louise Willcox, yet the US National Parks Service and Montana are intent on their wholesale slaughter. In place of a complete ecosystem with wild-roaming buffalo and grizzly bears, wildlife managers are systematically favoring the over-abundant elk that drive the politically powerful hunting industry. 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...

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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...
t was European colonialism and slaughter on a huge scale that marked the beginning of the end of Africa's iconic wildlife. Yet in mainstream narratives, the conservation heroes are all white, and Africans are either poachers, squatters or loyal servants.

Lies in conservation: the truth about big-game hunting and African nature reserves

Navaya ole Ndaskoi

14th March 2016

Media furore over the shooting down of a helicopter in Tanzania masks a bigger picture of commercial hunting and evictions of indigenous tribes in the name of wildlife, writes Navaya ole Ndaskoi. It's time to rethink 'white saviour' mythology and develop new models of conservation that respect and engage with African communities, recognise their achievements, and inspire a new generation of conservation heroes. 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...
The Baka have lived sustainably in their rainforest home for generations. Photo: Selcen Kucukustel / Atlas / Survival International.

Why Survival International has made a formal complaint to the OECD against WWF

Lewis Evans

6th March 2016

WWF’s support for 'fortress conservation' has led to serious human rights abuses for indigenous peoples, writes Lewis Evans, and nowhere more so than in Cameroon, where the Baka are considered trespassers and poachers in their own ancestral forests. A formal complaint against WWF's behaviour is now in process. 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...
Photo: 攝影家9號 - Photographer No.9 via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Greens commit to Rights of Nature law

The Ecologist

29th February 2016

At its Spring Conference in Harrogate yesterday the Green Party of England & Wales gave formal recognition to the Rights of Nature in an overwhelming vote, committing it to passing a new law to that effect at the earliest opportunity. more...
Koala bears, like this one at Arcadia Bay, Queensland, Australia, are among the many species suffering from the state's large-scale land clearance. Photo: Richard Gifford via Flickr (CC BY).

Queensland's land clearance is costing Australia and its wildlife dear

Martine Maron, Bill Laurance & colleagues

22nd February 2016

Australia's rainforest state, Queensland, is destroying well over 100,000 hectares of native vegetation a year, and rising, write Martine Maron, Bill Laurance & colleagues, including 'at risk' habitats and Koala bear forests. This is more than reversing the entire nation's eco-restoration programs and pushing endangered species ever closer to extinction. more...
The Black Mambas mean business! Photo: Julia Gunther.

South Africa's conservation success story: the 'Black Mambas' mean business!

Anneka Svenska

19th February 2016

A unique, all female anti-poaching unit has transformed the conservation picture in South Africa's Kruger National Park, writes Anneka Svenska. In just three years the Black Mambas have cut poaching by more than 75%, removed over 1,000 snares, and become role models for local youth. And this weekend they arrive in the UK to collect Helping Rhinos' 'Innovation in Conservation' Award. more...
Contemporary illustration of Alexander von Humboldt - used in the cover of 'The Invention of Nature'.

The Invention of Nature: adventures of Alexander Humboldt, lost hero of science

Matt Mellen

3rd March 2016

Andrea Wulf's book about the remarkable 19th century explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt is welcome, opportune and a pleasure to read, writes Matt Mellen, packed as it is with high adventure and amazing discoveries. We have much to learn from him today in tackling the world's environmental crises; reading this book is an excellent - and enjoyable - way to begin. more...
Otters waiting for fish at Loch Creran, West Highlands, Scotland. Photo: Jennie Rainsford via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Connecting with nature through wildlife, place and memory

John Aitchison

19th January 2016

Some of us are fortunate enough to have close relationships with the nature around us, writes John Aitchison. But what about everyone else? We must find ways to make people feel like old friends with wildife near and far, and feel that their wild homes and habitats are extensions of our own. And hence, that they are as deserving of our care as human neighbours - if not more so. 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...

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