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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...
Wild animals photographed at Jolly's Exotics circus. Photo: Animal Defenders International.

Bill launched to ban wild animals in circuses

The Ecologist

17th July 2014

A former Defra minister will introduce a new Bill to Parliament in September to ban wild animals in circuses. It reflects Government policy since 2012 and the Prime Minister has promised 'We're going to do it'. But will he keep his word? more...
Barn swallow chicks (Hirundo rustica) at Arrábida (Quinta do Camalhão), Setúbal, Portugal. This insectivorous species is among those impacted by imidacloprid. Photo: Jose Sousa via Flickr.

It's not just the bees! 'Neonic' pesticides linked to bird declines

Helen Thompson

17th July 2014

A study published today in Nature shows a strong correlation between concentrations of a popular neonicotinoid pesticide in water, and bird declines, writes Helen Thompson. Regulators are under pressure to tighten up, but the industry still claims there's 'no substantiated evidence'. more...
Some 90 miles off the Sao Paulo coast, Ilha da Queimada Grande looks very pretty from far away. But up close, it's terrifying. Photo: Prefeitura Municipal Itanhaém.

Great snakes! Football fans, explore at your peril

Natasha Geiling

15th July 2014

Brazil's Ilha de Queimada Grande is the only home of one of the world's deadliest, and most endangered, snakes, writes Natasha Geiling. Just the place for Brazil's disgraced football team to escape the wrath of furious fans, if they can only get a permit ... more...
Red wolves are clinging on to existence in a few thousand kilometres of the southeastern US. Photo: B. Bartel / USFWS, CC BY-SA

Red wolf extinction fear as US budget cuts bite

Joseph Hinton

7th July 2014

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has done pioneering conservation work to save North America's endangered Red Wolf, under threat from shooting and inter-breeding with coyotes. But now federal budget cuts are putting all that - and the Red wolf itself - at risk. more...
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson faces a High Court appearance when his 'irrational' decision to hold the 2014 badger cull with no independent expert scrutiny is subjected to Judicial Review.

Badger cull High Court challenge goes ahead

The Ecologist

2nd July 2014

The Badger Trust has been granted leave for a Judicial Review of Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and Natural England over their 'irrational' decision to conduct the 2013 badger cull with no independent expert scrutiny. more...
Wild beavers caught on film in the River Otter, Devon, by Tom Buckley. Photo via BBC News and Youtube.

Let England's wild beavers be!

Oliver Tickell

1st July 2014

A family of wild of beavers has established on an English river for the first time since Henry VIII. But now the Government has decided to trap them and consign them to captivity in a zoo or wildlife centre. Defenders of wilderness are now demanding: keep our wild beavers free! more...

Natural World: 1/25 of 753
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Condors at the Grand Canyon. Photo: Derek Bruff via Flickr.

Eat lead! Condor survival versus National Rifle Association

Dawn Starin

7th July 2014

Ample peer-reviewed science says that the number one threat to condor survival is lead poisoning from eating bullets and pellets in carcasses, reports Dawn Starin. But the powerful NRA is fighting hard against bans on lead ammunition. more...
Fuleco has inspired millions of plastic  armadillos, but the animals themselves have received scant benefit. Photo: Tânia Rêgo / ABr, CC BY-SA.

Brazil and FIFA have failed to protect their World Cup mascot

Robert Young

12th July 2014

The choice of the armadillo as World Cup mascot could have led to great conservation gains in Brazil, writes Robert Young. Results so far are deeply disappointing - but it's not too late for FIFA and Brazil to create a natural endowment to be proud of for decades to come. more...
Cradle Mountain, Tasmania. Photo: Neerav Bhatt via Flickr.

Tasmania's forests will remain World Heritage

Tom Fairman & Rod Keenan

27th June 2014

UNESCO has refused to 'de-list' 74,000 hectares of the Tasmania Wilderness World Heritage Area as requested by the Tasmanian and Australian governments, following a 'feeble' presentation. more...
The Arctic Red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus, is causing ecological havoc as it devours its way down Norway's coast. It can reach a leg-span of 1.8m. Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / Wikimedia Commons.

The Arctic shipping boom - a bonanza for invasive exotic species

Natasha Geiling / Smithsonian

27th June 2014

As the Arctic warms and its ice melts, growing numbers freight ships are reaping big savings from the 'Arctic short cut'. But this is creating a huge risk of invasive species spreading in ballast water and on hulls - disrupting both Arctic and temperate ecosystems. more...
Little bee eaters on the Okovango River,  Botswana. Photo: amattox mattox via Flickr.

Okovango Delta is 1,000th World Heritage Site

The Ecologist

23rd June 2014

Botswana's Okavango Delta, one of the most iconic natural areas on the planet, has been listed as 1,000th World Heritage site today. The decision follows the advice of IUCN, UNESCO's advisory body on nature. more...
Threat on the horizon. The iconic Serengeti - home to one of the world’s greatest wildlife migrations - could be bisected by a mining-boom highway. Photo: William Laurance.

Africa's ecosystems imperilled by mining frenzy

William Laurance

24th June 2014

Africa sustains some of the most spectacular ecosystems on the planet - from the Sergengeti to the Congo Basin to the Eastern Arc forests. But those ecosystems and their iconic wildlife are now facing their greatest peril, writes William Laurance - a mining boom of unprecedented intensity. more...
The Kurilsky nature reserve. One of many areas where the Russian government has bent the rules. Photo: CC Igor Shpilenok.

Russia's wildlife protector is on a mission of destruction

Mikhail Kreindlin

5th July 2014

Russia is rich in nature reserves and national parks, writes Mikhail Kreindlin. But the government body meant to be protecting them is in fact promoting logging, building and mining projects. Conservationists are fighting back, but the odds are stacked against them. more...
Fewer than 400 West African giraffes survive. Photo: Giraffe Conservation Foundation.

Only 80,000 giraffes left in Africa

The Ecologist

21st June 2014

On the first-ever World Giraffe Day, the world's tallest land mammal is threatened by conflict with humans, habitat loss, war, and disease. One subspecies, the West African giraffe, is down to 400 individuals. more...
View of the Peel Watershed. Photo: Jill Pangman.

Wild heart of the Yukon in gravest peril

Jill Pangman

3rd July 2014

Next week the indigenous peoples of the Yukon challenge their Government in the Territory's Supreme Court, writes Jill Pangman. At issue, its plans to open the Peel watershed, a vast unspoilt ecosystem rich in wildlife and cultural meaning, for industrial development. more...
Snow on Mountain Pinkberry (Leptecophylla) in the Tasmanian Wilderness. Photo: Tatters ❀ via Flickr.

UNESCO, protect Tasmanian wilderness

Jess Abrahams

18th June 2014

74,000 hectares of Tasmania's native forest wilderness will be opened up to industrial logging, writes Jess Abrahams - if Australia's government succeeds in removing its World Heritage status at a UNESCO meeting now under way in Doha. more...
These cows on the Kerry Ridgeway in Wales are subject to annual TB testing - key to halving TB incidence over 5 years. Photo: John Clift via Flickr.

Bovine TB - biosecurity works, new Defra figures show

Lesley Docksey

18th June 2014

With the 6th International Conference on Bovine TB under way today in Cardiff, Lesley Docksey reports on Defra's latest statistics. BTB in England is falling - and it's falling fastest where the strongest biosecurity measures are in place, confirming the experience of Wales and Scotland. more...
Gorilla, Philadelphia Zoo. Photo: Richard Ricciardi via Flickr.

The amazing emotional intelligence of our primate cousins

Danielle Radin

24th June 2014

Gorillas cooperating to dismantle poachers's snares, altruistic, food sharing chimpanzees, grieving lemurs performing death rituals ... Danielle Radin finds an extraordinary emotional depth and capacity for empathy in our fellow primates. more...
If Europe's farms, like this one near Ludlow, England, provide benefits to wildlife, it's no thanks to the EU's agriculture policies. Photo: Robert Davies via Flickr.

The 'greening' of Europe's farms is a shameful failure

Lynn Dicks & Tim Benton

17th June 2014

The EU's farming policy is being touted as 'greener than ever' - but it's no such thing, write Lynn Dicks & Tim Benton. The 'green reforms' pay farmers for actions (and often inactions) that do not benefit wildlife, and contain no real or effective measures to help. more...

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