The Ecologist


Conservation: 1/25 of 260
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Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, at the 14th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues - 27 April 2015, New York. Photo: via

Vicky Tauli-Corpuz: 'The better protected areas are those where indigenous peoples live!'

Joe Eisen / Conservation Watch

19th October 2016

Indigenous Peoples are often the victims of nature conservation, according to a new report by Vicky Tauli-Corpuz presented to the UN this week, as they are expelled from lands they have inhabited for millennia. One reason, she told Joe Eisen, is that indigenous territories are precisely the places where biodiversity is best preserved - thanks to the protective, nurturing presence of their traditional owners. more...
How's it worth more? Alive or dead? African bush elephant. Photo: Arno Meintjes via Fliuckr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Saving the elephant: don't forget local communities!

Ross Harvey & Alexander Rhodes

10th October 2016

With 27,000 African savannah elephants a year illegally killed for their ivory, the species is in peril, write Ross Harvey & Alexander Rhodes. Now international action at CITES and the closure of domestic ivory markets are attacking the ivory trade at both ends. But we must also give our full support to 'elephant neighbor' communities. more...
A Common toad colony migrating across a road near Ipswich.

Toad's 30-year decline shows 'large-scale deterioration of environmental quality'

Oliver Tickell

6th October 2016

A 30-year decline in toad populations recorded by volunteers, shows the need to rebuild vital 'green infrastructure' across both the wider countryside and urban areas, writes Oliver Tickell: reversing habitat fragmentation, digging out ponds and ditches, and leaving ample unkempt areas for cover and hibernation. more...

Tourism vs Ecology - which in this case boils down to SSSI Sand Dunes vs a new Scottish Golf Course

Laura Briggs

3rd October, 2016

Campaigners fighting a development for an 18-hole golf course on a pristine part of the Moray Firth are planning to launch a legal challenge against the plans with £10,000 they have sourced through crowdfunding. LAURA BRIGGS reports more...

The Ecologist Arts Interview: UK Wildlife Artist Rachel Lockwood

Gary Cook

28th September, 2016

Wildlife artist Rachel Lockwood is in creative lockdown preparing for her new exhibition called Wilding. Ecologist Arts Editor, GARY COOK went to her North Norfolk studio to talk paint, animals and other environmental matters more...
Could a legal, regulated trade in rhino horn help save these wonderful animals by paying for their conservation and taking the profit out of poaching? Photo: rhino on the Eastern Cape, South Africa, by Colin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

To save our rhinos, we need a legal horn trade

Keith Somerville, University of Kent

22nd September 2016

The trade ban on rhino horn is not working, writes Keith Somerville. But non-lethally and sustainably harvested rhino horn can earn income to encourage breeders, pay rangers and anti-poaching teams, provide surveillance and supply wider benefits that will gain the support of people around parks, reserves and ranches. more...
Soldiers came with the park officers. They planted a Thai flag and told the Karen to leave the village at once, or be shot. Photo: via CW.

Thailand court: National Park officers 'can burn indigenous homes'

Chris Lang / Conservation Watch

20th September 2016

The Thai government was right to evict an indigenous community from the Kaeng Krachan National Park at gunpoint and burn down homes, a Bangkok court has ruled - even though one resident had lived there for 100 years and the Park was only created in 1981. more...
Wilderness in Alaska, USA. Photo: Travis Wise via Flickr (CC BY).

Wilderness needs immediate protection for climate - and much more

James Watson, Bill Laurance, Brendan Mackey & James Allan

16th September 2016

The destruction of the world's wilderness is accelerating with a new clutch of mega projects from dams, roads and mines to large scale agriculture, write James Watson, Bill Laurance, Brendan Mackey & James Allan. It's cost-effective to put a stop to it right now for the carbon value of wilderness alone - never mind the biodiversity and indigenous peoples it safeguards. more...
Who ate all the pies? Robin redbreast on an English farm. Photo: John Bennett via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

'State of Nature' 2016 report shows continued loss of Britain's biodiversity

Susan Clark

14th September 2016

The 2016 'State of Nature' report, published today, offers many small victories to celebrate, writes SUSAN CLARK, but overall it's not good news: 15% of our native species are under threat of extinction, while 53% are in decline. With intensive farming the main cause of the damage, and climate change a serious long term problem, turning the tide of wildlife attrition will be a long and challenging task. more...
Durham Wildlife Trust volunteers surveying invertebrate populations at Stanley Moss, Sunniside, England. Photo: Dougie Nisbet via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

'State of Nature': a labour of love by Britain's conservation heroes

Dr Mark Eaton

14th September 2016

The 'State of Nature' report, published today, is the apex of a vast pyramid of loving and heroic toil by many thousands of volunteer naturalists, writes Dr Mark Eaton - hard at work in all seasons in our marshes, forests, mountains, swamps and farmland. But do we have the young recruits to keep this wonderful tradition going? more...
Chief Caleen Sisk holding an exchange with Hawai'ian sacred site custodians at the 2016 World Conservation Congress in Hawai'i. Photo: Sacred Land Film Project.

World Conservation Congress votes to protect indigenous sacred lands

Hal Rhoades

13th September 2016

As the global assault on indigenous lands intensifies, the world's largest conservation group, the IUCN, has just voted at its World Conservation Congress for the sacred natural sites and territories of indigenous peoples to be recognised as 'No-Go Areas' for destructive industrial scale activities, writes Hal Rhoades - and for corporations to permanently withdraw from such areas. more...
Milletseed butterflyfishes and snorkeler near surface, taken in 2009 in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument - which has just quadrupled in size. Photo: Greg McFall / NOAA's National Ocean Service via Flickr (CC BY).

Vast remote ‘marine protected areas’ - a diversion from the real job?

Peter J S Jones & Elizabeth De Santo

8th September 2016

There's quite a fashion now for creating enormous ocean nature reserves, write Peter J S Jones & Elizabeth De Santo. The UK kicked off the trend last year at Pitcairn Island, and now the US has followed up with a 1.5m reserve around Hawaii. But while these look like big conservation gains, the more serious task is to manage sustainably the intensely exploited seas close to home. more...

Conservation: 1/25 of 260
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The Baka have lived sustainably in their rainforest home for generations. Photo: Selcen Kucukustel / Atlas / Survival International.

Corporate capture: Big Conservation must break out of its Stockholm syndrome

Dr Margi Prideaux

2nd September 2016

Big conservation NGOs increasingly resemble the nature-destroying corporations they should be opposing, writes Margi Prideaux. This ideological capture is reflected in their vapid marketing to conservation 'consumers'; the serious abuse of indigenous communities they should be engaging as partners; and their willing sacrifice of core objectives to money and influence. more...

Activist ‘Pati' Ruiz Corzo: The Singing Conservationist

Tadzio Mac Gregor

25th August, 2016

TADZIO MAC GREGOR meets a former school teacher-turned-conservation-activist who uses singing to inspire her followers and who has taken on both the Mexican Government and big corporations to stop the exploitation of the biodiverse Sierra Gorda region for profit more...
In 2012 Natural England pulled its legal inquiry into the burning of blanket bog in the Pennines - one of several factors damaging the rare and vulnerable habitat. Photo: Peer Lawther via Flickr (CC BY).

England's nature watchdog to rely on 'consultancy' income from developers

Emma Howard / Greenpeace Energydesk

16th August 2016

Leaked documents show that Natural England, the official wildlife agency, is to increase its income from 'discretionary chargeable advice' to developers and landowners, writes EMMA HOWARD - while also failing to prosecute wildlife crime or challenge damaging developments. more...

New Whale Heritage Sites (WHS) signal a new era in responsible whale watching


16th August, 2016

As whale watching grows in popularity, so too do concerns about marine habitats and the conservation of whales, dolphins and porpoises. DYLAN WALKER of the World Cetacean Alliance explains why we must all take responsibility for ethical interactions with these intriguing animals
A local fisherman navigates the Diphlu River, which runs alongside India's Kaziranga national park - which operates a strict 'shoot on sight' policy for people found within the park boundaries. Photo: Frank Boyd via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Guards shoot indigenous boy in India's 'shoot-to-kill' national park

The Ecologist

20th July 2016

A 7-year old boy has been shot by park guards in Kaziranga national park, India, visited in April by Prince William and Kate, which operates a strict 'shoot first' policy. The incident highlights the government's wider efforts to evict tribal peoples from their forests in the name of conservation. more...


Victor Anderson

26th July, 2016

The idea of "Natural Capital" as a way of seeing the world has caught on in a big way. There is a Natural Capital Coalition, a Natural Capital Protocol, and the Government even has a Natural Capital Committee. But what assumptions lurk within this term "Natural Capital"? A new University of Anglia arts-funded project aims to find out and one of those involved VICTOR ANDERSON will be giving us regular updates on the issues being raised more...
Once a coral reef, now a construction site. China expanding its land 'reclamation' at Fiery Reef in the South China Sea. Photo: still from report by NHK WORLD NEWSLINE English (see video embed).

China condemned for massive coral reef destruction

Oliver Tickell

12th July 2016

International judges today condemned China's great 'water grab' of the South China Sea - not least for its destruction of over 100 of pristine coral reefs, dredged and ground up to build artificial islands, and the ransacking of their wildlife, from endangered sea turtles to giant clams. more...

Ecologist New Voices - Environmental artist Gary Cook

8th July, 2016

One of our New Voices is the UK-base environmental painter and activist Gary Cook who will be writing for us about the visual arts. As an introduction to his work, the committed conservationist explains how his extraordinarily powerful 'info-canvases' educate people about the threats to wildlife and the need for immediate action to protect our most endangered species for future generations.
Temporary streams are set to become an increasingly common landscape feature in the UK. The River Manifold (Staffordshire, UK) already experiences annual drying due to features of the underlying bedrock. Photo: Tory Milner.

Dry rivers are living rivers - with our care and protection

Rachel Stubbington

25th July 2016

Although flowing water is fundamental to river ecosystems, temporary streams are distinctive landscape features that support surprisingly diverse communities, writes Rachel Stubbington. However, the biodiversity of these dynamic ecosystems needs greater recognition and protection. more...

Rare dormice return to Yorkshire Dales National Park

Susan Clark

27th June, 2016

There's the Referendum vote and then there's what else happened on Brexit day. This, for instance... more...

Reward Offered to help catch and convict wolf pup poachers

22nd June, 2016

The Center for Biological Diversity has launched a new Wolf Defense Fun to help protect wolves in the wild more...

Brexit - a nasty sting in the tail for Britain's bees?

Dave Timms

21st June, 2016

Britain's bees are under threat from Brexit and moves to allow farmers to use banned bee-harming 'neonictinoid' pesticides, warns Dave Timms, Bees Campaigner with Friends of the Earth. With 20 species extinct since 1900 and a further 35 under threat, how much more can our bees take? more...

Cornish community carries on fighting a 'Super Quarry' development in Marine Conservation Zone

Amy Hall

20th June, 2016

There are now some 50 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) in England and Wales. Amy Hall reports on how campaigners fighting the re-opening of a Cornish quarry in one of the zones are effectively testing what the designation really means and how much protection it guarantees. more...


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