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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...
Could this ancient woodland be 'offset'? Or better still, transformed into a new asset class for speculative investment? Ashridge Forest, Hertfordshire, England in the late autumn. Photo: ukgardenphotos via Flickr.

Nature as an 'asset class' - the free market's final frontier?

Alex Scrivener

14th September 2014

Plans to create a market in nature itself are fraught with danger, writes Alex Scrivener. Biodiversity offsetting could allow the fate of our forests, rivers, meadows and wildlife species, and the people who depend on them, to be determined by the whims of multinational corporations and speculative investors. more...
Nightingale singing in a hawthorn tree. Photo: John Bridges / rspb-images.com.

Housing against nightingales - no way!

Martin Harper / RSPB

8th September 2014

A 5,000-house development has just won planning permission on a SSSI nature area in Kent which is home to over 1% of the UK's nightingales. It violates government planning policies, and ministers have the power to stop it. But will they? Yes they will, writes Martin Harper - provided enough people show they care! more...
The Black Sea was awash with jellyfish - and very little else. Photo: Lewis Pugh.

We must protect our seas!

Lewis Pugh

30th August 2014

Lewis Pugh has completed long-distance swims in the 'seven seas' to promote his dream of a peaceful world of well-managed Marine Protected Areas, abundant oceans teeming with fish, turtles, whales, sea-birds and sharks. His shocking experiences in the water make that dream more urgent and compelling than ever. more...
Camels in the Gurvan Saikhan national park, Gobi desert, Mongolia. Photo: Stephane L via Flickr.

China and Mongolia clash over how to exploit the Gobi desert

Troy Sternberg

9th September 2014

Mongolia and China are separated by world views as well as by a border across the Gobi desert, writes Troy Sternberg. In Mongolia the idea that nature has intrinsic value is readily accepted, while China is more interested in resources for trade, industry and profit. Can a clash of interests be avoided? more...
Road map detail - Central Africa. Image: Bill Laurance.

A global plan for road expansion that doesn't cost the earth

Bill Laurance

28th August 2014

Roads are responsible for massive environmental damage around the world, writes Bill Laurance - yet they also bring huge benefits. His solution? A new atlas that shows where the 'goods' of roads outweigh the 'bads', so that developing countries can harness the prosperity new roads can bring, without the destruction. 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...
A well deserved rest-stop on the trail. Photo: Tanja Geis.

Wildfjords - an Icelandic exploration of the natural world

Daniel Crockett

7th September 2014

Daniel Crockett guided a 300km walk along ancient horse routes through the Westfjords, a remote, depopulating region of Iceland rich in nature, myth and magic. The wild, non-human environment enters our beings, he writes - and thus infected, the onus is on us to spread the message far and wide. more...
Who drank all the water? Dried out 'swamp' just NE of the Everglades National Park, Miami County, Florida. Photo: A Duarte via Flickr.

Florida's sugar barons grow fat on subsidies, diabetes and Everglades destruction

Alan Farago

1st September 2014

Big Sugar is the new Big Tobacco, writes Alan Farago - lethal to human health, wreaking environmental devastation, gouging huge public subsidies, and with the political clout to stop First Lady Michelle Obama from breathing a word against it. Only an alliance of 'green', health and taxpayer campaigners can kill the beast. more...
Birds and airplanes are a poor mix - but do we need to slaughter quite so many? Photo: Eugene Zemlyanskiy via Flickr.

Airports' global bird slaughter - 100,000s gassed, shot, poisoned

Rose Bridger

18th August 2014

Airports around the world are waging a war on birds, writes Rose Bridger. It's meant to prevent aircraft bird strikes. But in fact, fatal (for people) collisions are rare - and even killing thousands of birds does little to reduce the number of strikes. Best fly less, and keep airports away from birds! more...
At least this badger at the British Wildlife Centre is safe from culling. Photo: Helen Haden via Flickr.

Whistle-blowing monitor reveals: how not to run a badger cull

Lesley Docksey

14th August 2014

New revelations show that the rifle-wielding badger cullers were often acting criminally, writes Lesley Docksey - pursuing badgers with loaded weapons on both private and public land outside licenced areas, with impunity, while the IEP was apparently kept in the dark. Strict controls are essential - or just an end to the cull. more...

natural world: 1/25 of 772
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Walshaw Moor, near Hebden Bridge, after burning to improve grouse yields. Photo: energyroyd.org.uk/ .

Our uplands: a burning desire for action

Martin Harper

12th August 2014

Today, on the 'Glorious 12th', well-heeled folk take to the hills to shoot grouse. And to be sure there's lots of birds to kill, writes Martin Harper, England's moorlands are burnt with dire impacts on their biodiversity and ability to absorb rainfall. It's high time to end this barbaric practice! more...
Western pygmy possums use tree hollows that take decades to develop in mallee ecosystems. Photo: Lauren Brown.

Over-burning could be damaging Australia's wildlife for 100 years

Dale Nimmo, Andrew Bennett & Michael Clarke

29th August 2014

We know that Australia's dry bush has co-evolved with fire, so that means regular planned burning is a good thing? Up to a point ... some increasingly rare species depend on 'old growth' bush up to 100 years old, and over-frequent burning is putting them under long-term threat. more...
Changing climates ... the polar vortex played havoc with Niagara Falls (and much of the rest of North America too). Photo: Rick Warne / EPA.

The 'pre-Holocene' climate is returning - and it won't be fun

Peter Fisher

16th August 2014

A string of events earlier this year provided a sobering snapshot of a global climate system out of whack, writes Peter Fisher. Could it represent the end of a rare 10,000 year island of stability in global climate? If so, we had better get used to it. The Earth may never be so comfortable again ... more...
Wild mustangs are a powerful symbol of American freedom - but they cannot be left to reproduce indefinitely. Photo: Carol Walker, Author provided.

America's wild mustangs cannot be left to manage themselves

J. Edward de Steiguer

7th August 2014

Wild mustangs are a potent symbol of pioneer spirit in the old West, writes J. Edward de Steiguer. But with few natural controls on their numbers, the population of almost 100,000 is rising by 20% a year. Now it's up to humans to control their numbers - one way or another. more...
Photo: Jared Rodriguez / truthout.org via Flickr.

Can 'Public Interest' protect Britain's wildlife?

Lesley Docksey

8th August 2014

Last week the Upper Tribunal of the Royal Courts of Justice ordered Defra to release key information about the badger cull based on a 'public interest' argument, writes Lesley Docksey. Could this judgment open a new era of transparent and accountable government? more...
Under the new guidance, even Stonehenge could by destroyed by fracking if it would 'achieve substantial public benefits that outweigh that harm or loss.'

Fracking go-ahead on UK's National Parks, World Heritage Sites, nature reserves

Oliver Tickell

28th July 2014

The UK has just opened a bidding round for fracking licences. But the rules contain only weak protections against fracking in National Parks and AONBs - and none at all for even the most important wildlife sites and drinking water aquifers. more...
A mother badger with three cubs to feed looks for food in garden in rural Dorset. Photo: Lesley Docksey.

Carry on Culling - the fiasco continues

Lesley Docksey

28th July 2014

'We need to look at the best scientific evidence' on badgers and bovine TB, says Environment Secretary Liz Truss. But as Lesley Docksey writes, the 'best scientific evidence' appears to mean only that which supports the cull - and there's precious little of it! more...
The Somali ostrich is now recognised as a separate species, but it's listed as 'vulnerable' owing to hunting, egg collecting and other threats. Photo: Steve Garvie via Flickr, taken in Kenya's Rift Valley.

A quarter of 361 newly-recognised birds are 'threatened'

The Ecologist

24th July 2014

A global taxonomic review of birds has 'discovered' 361 new species that were previously considered 'races' of existing bird species - but many of them are endangered, forcing a rethink of conservation priorities. more...
Front cover of Badgerlands by Patrick Barkham.

The beguiling magic of badgers at dusk

Lesley Docksey

25th July 2014

To live sustainably we must learn to live with wildlife, Patrick Barkham argues in his book Badgerlands. To do this we have much to learn from our ancestors - but we must also discard their barbaric practices and outrageous myths that, even today, some are so keen to perpetuate. more...
Artisanal fishing nets at the Cobb, Lyme Regis, Lyme Bay. Photo: geograph.org.uk via Wikimedia Commons.

Simplifying the sea - ecocide in the English Channel

Horatio Morpurgo

25th July 2014

A new report on the Channel's fisheries is a timely reminder of the ecological trend to 'simplification' as whole trophic levels are stripped away by over-exploitation, writes Horatio Morpurgo. Yet the government's profit-focused vision of 'sustainability' is missing the essential element - allowing the recovery of marine ecosystems. more...
The social structure of badger families is perturbed by the loss of a single member, and this can cause the spread of any TB they may be harbouring. Photo: Tim Brookes via Flickr.

Badger Trust's High Court cull challenge

The Ecologist

21st July 2014

The Badger Trust will challenge the trial badger culls in the High Court next month, claiming that Environment Secretary Liz Truss and Natural England are acting unlawfully in failing to appoint an expert panel to oversee the experiment. more...
A dragnet that captures too much marine life. Joachim Müllerchen, CC BY-SA.

Protect our inshore seabeds to allow fish stocks to recover!

Jason Hall-Spencer

18th July 2014

The UK's coastal waters are producing little but tiddlers and scallops, writes Jason Hall-Spencer - and to blame is the endless gouging of the seabed by trawlers and dredgers - even in 'marine reserves'. We must allow our marine ecosystems to rebuild! more...
Liz Truss threatens a badger with a garden fork at the Family Action's Escape Allotment in Swaffham. Photo: Matthew Usher / edp24.co.uk/

Truss - the badgers must die!

The Ecologist

17th July 2014

The new Environment Secretary Liz Truss flunked her first 'Green test' today as she told Parliament that the badger cull goes on. We run this excerpt from the Parliamentary record in which she states 'We are progressing with our programme!' more...

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