Thursday, 9 April 2020

Going Wild in Rural China?

The recent 'freeze' on the production of wild animals for human consumption in rural China appears to be meeting difficulties (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/09/bamboo-rats-left-in-limbo-as-breeders-push-back-against-china-wildlife-ban). Some breeders were apparently feted for their production of Civet cats, bats, Bamboo rats and Pangolins as it was official policy to fight local poverty in this way. The difficulty is that some breeders were on official programmes (and seem to have been offered compensation and encouraged to go into chicken or mushroom production) whereas others, followed the trend independently (and are on their own). Any breeders, with wild-type animals, are not allowed to sell, release or even cull their beasts. The law in this area was established in 2008 and appears very vague (many species are not referred to) and some farmers, who are paying for food, appear angry that, while the origins of Covid-19 have not been established, they are in limbo. This seems a recipe for more disaster.

Seeing the Changes 1409


On a day that never stops giving, noted lots of Common wasps (Vespa vulgaris) around Loughor. Also spotted my first Brimstone (Gonopteryx rhamni) of the year in my garden.

Seeing the Changes 1408





A warm day with a lot more out. In Bynea, Bluebell (Endymion non-scriptus) and Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) were blooming. In Penclacwydd, Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) was in flower whilst Speckled wood (Parage aegeria tircis) and male Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines) butterflies flitted.

Fuming: Adding to the Risk?

It is hardly remarkable, given the fact that SARS CoV-2 (formerly Covid-19) causes pneumonia, but a wide-ranging (in terms of locations investigated) study has clearly linked deaths from the virus to the air quality found in particular locations (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/07/air-pollution-linked-to-far-higher-covid-19-death-rates-study-finds). The shutdown of economic activity in many parts of the world, has, of course, temporarily (?) improved air quality but establishing the link reiterates the importance of clean air to human health. It is interesting that whilst one can easily blame a virus for human suffering and death, human activity-created problems generally receive a carte blanc.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Seeing the Changes 1407

A Holly blue (Celestrina argiolus) flitted around my Loughor garden.

Modelling the UK's Covid-19 Outbreak

Modelling a Pandemic is always problematical (remember the old computer adage "Garbage in: Garbage out") and getting accurate numbers for Covid-19 infections and deaths in the UK has been problematical. The respected Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, which is based at the University of Washington in the USA, has, however, come up with some predictions for our country (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/07/how-can-coronavirus-models-get-it-so-wrong). They initially point out that modelling is most accurate where the epidemic has already peaked (e.g. Italy) and have used that information to guide predictions about the likely pattern in countries (e.g. the UK) where it is still climbing. Their predicted daily death-rate in the UK is between 800 and 8000 (a wide variation but both figures are strikingly high) and they think the epidemic will peak here around the 17th of April. Even worse, they reckon that, by August, the UK will have recorded more Covid-19 deaths than France, Germany, Italy and Spain combined. It is a model but it's scary. 

Seeing the Changes 1406


A few more. Sea plantain (Plantago maritima) in flower in Bynea and Red campion (Silene dioica) made an appearance in Penclacwydd.

Going Wild in Rural China?

The recent 'freeze' on the production of wild animals for human consumption in rural China appears to be meeting difficulties ( h...