Image courtesy of SCOTLAND: THE BIG PICTURE.
Every now and again, you come across a book that is more than just a book. Something that transcends its primary purpose. A real labour of love. The Red Squirrel: A future in the forest is such a book, and much like its subject matter, it needs your help. A crowdfunding campaign is currently underway to secure the funds required to get the photo book into publication, with just 25 days remaining. You can find out more about the project and how to contribute to it here. Continue reading Shining A Light On The Red Squirrel
Heartened to hear about an ambitious project to reintroduce 11 locally extinct species to Dirk Hartog Island, off the coast of Western Australia. The ten mammals and one bird species were once endemic to the island, but their populations declined rapidly following overgrazing by introduced sheep and goats, and from predation by feral cats. The long-term goal of the ecological restoration project is to return the island’s ecosystem back to how it would have looked and functioned when Dutch explorer, Dirk Hartog, discovered it by chance in 1616. Continue reading Rewilding on Dirk Hartog Island
Should we resurrect extinct species? If we have the animal’s DNA and the means to reproduce it, is the creature truly extinct? It’s a contentious field of research that’s still in its infancy, but it’s no longer science fiction – its potential is a reality thanks to ground-breaking developments in genetic technology. Conservationists, ecologists and the wider scientific community remain divided on the issue.
Those for it see it as a vital lifeline for critically endangered species, such as the Northern White Rhino. It could boost biodiversity, help restore diminished ecosystems and most profoundly, bring back species that were once thought lost forever. Those against the idea view it as a distraction from conventional conservation practices that could dilute the focus to protect existing species. Why conserve when you can ultimately bring back? Continue reading Delving into De-extinction
Golden Toad. Charles H. Smith. Wikimedia Creative Commons
Today’s contemplation arose after reading about the sad demise of Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog. The inevitability of this species’ extinction was particularly grim – but by no means unusual or surprising given the general health of amphibian populations across the world right now. They face unprecedented threats that include: fungal diseases, habitat modification and fragmentation, pollution and chemical contamination, climate change and ultraviolet radiation. Now almost half of all amphibian species are experiencing a population decline, with over a third threatened with extinction. Most alarmingly of all, at least 160 species are believed to have become extinct during the last two decades. Continue reading The Amphibian Extinction Crisis
Southern Scotland could once again become a stronghold for this majestic raptor, following over £1 million of funding having now been secured by the initiative from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project seeks to substantially boost their numbers in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway, with just three breeding pairs believed to exist in the regions currently. If the plans come to fruition, a further sixteen breeding pairs could be released, reinforcing what is a most precarious population. Continue reading The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project
Having recently returned from a nature-orientated trip to Croatia, the subject of rewilding, and in particular, the proposed Lynx reintroduction here in the UK, has been on my mind. The highlight was a day spent exploring the magnificent – and truly wild – Risnjak National Park. Apart from being a prime example of a thriving forest ecosystem brimming with biodiversity, it was also the setting for Croatia’s own Eurasian Lynx resurgence, originating from the release of six animals from Slovakia into Slovenia in 1973.
Continue reading Rewilding Lessons In Risnjak
A recent study has found that a number of Turkish Brown Bears migrate vast distances in search for food. It’s believed to be the first time this behaviour has been documented in this species. Of the 16 Brown Bears that were GPS-tracked around the town of Sarikamis, 6 were observed making seasonal migrations each year during September to November between feeding and hibernation sites. They left the Sarikamis Scots pine forest, which provides very little low-hanging fruit or nuts during these months, to oak woods with an abundance of food.
Continue reading The Migrating Scavenger Bears of Turkey