Friday, 29 July 2011
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/28/localism-bill-sacrifice-countryside-market?INTCMP=SRCH). It seems to me that green field sites need more (not less) protection. Everything that gets built on (and that currently seems every scrap of spare land around here) results in losses for what is an already pressured natural world. The only thing I would add is that, as agriculture appears almost as destructive of biodiversity as housing developments, the need to protect manicured farm land from the builders may be less imperative than keeping them off 'scruffy' scrub!
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/28/terrapin-haven-tuscany-derelict-carapax?INTCMP=SRCH) to spend their days at a sanctuary. The terrapins were generated by an earlier fad for 'Ninja turtles'. With the decline in enthusiasm for the programme and these reptiles, the owners handed them in or released them into UK environments (where they had detrimental effects on wildlife including young waterbirds). The collected terrapins (the released ones had to be recaptured at great expense) were freighted to 'Carapax' (the European Centre for Chelonian Conservation) near Pisa in Italy. Although food was provided, it turned out that the pools at the location were inadequate for the numbers of animals and many have died leading to closure of the 'sanctuary'. There are several messages here. The first, is that one should, if possible, avoid animals being purchased as a result of a fad (often the children and their parents have little idea about what they are getting into). The second, is that releasing the unwanted 'pets' into our natural environment is a distinctly bad idea (although it is likely to be the default response of most owners). The third, is that 'sanctuaries' have to be properly evaluated before being used (and even then, they may not prove to be a viable long-term solution).
Wednesday, 27 July 2011
Monday, 25 July 2011
Tuesday, 19 July 2011
Sunday, 17 July 2011
Thursday, 14 July 2011
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jul/13/new-butterfly-northern-ireland-wood-white). This species looks identical to the endangered Wood white but is not found in England, Scotland or Wales. It has more chromosomes than the regular Wood white and seems considerably older as a species. This is not, however, the type of species likely to be identified in the 'Big Butterfly Count'.
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
http://www.butterflyworldproject.com/media/news/articles/countdown-to-the-big-butterfly-count-at-butterfly-world/?id=0000000017). It is, of course, already known that some species (e.g. Small tortoiseshell) are in decline whereas others (e.g. Comma) are expanding their ranges. I am not certain whether the results will actually help to identify the reasons for population changes (these might well vary from species to species) but most butterflies are 'relatively' easy to identify and there are fewer than 60 species to contend with in these islands. The timing of the survey might also be a problem as a number of species will not be visible so late in the season. I suppose the activity might at least stimulate some interest in the natural world.
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
Monday, 11 July 2011
http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2092749/gillard-australian-carbon-tax-promises-clean-energy-future). The proposals (hitting the 20 or so major polluters in the country) have led to furious demonstations and claims that the measures will 'destroy the Australian way of life'. This seems superficially odd given the fact that the Australian economy seems to be the most vulnerable (consider the 'fire storms', droughts and floods of recent times) of the developed nations to the effects of climate change. Australians are, however, on a per capita basis major generators of carbon dioxide release and big business, with media help, seems intent on not even entertaining the possibility of anthropogenic effects on climate.
There is a somewhat odd finding that highly toxic Pumpkin toadlets from Brazil apparently cannot hear their own mating calls ( https://w...
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It is always sad to hear of problems occurring at places you have used for teaching and the outbreak of h5n8 avian influenza at Abbot...