Search Results for: habitat loss

Turtle Doves | Unsustainable hunting and habitat loss

It’s not so very long ago that the European Turtle Dove was such a common fixture of the UK summer that almost everyone would have recognised the rolling, purring ‘turr-turr’ call that gave the bird its English name. But, writes Charlie Moores, it’s now the UK’s fastest declining bird species and considered vulnerable to extinction across its entire range.

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17 White-tailed Eagles killed ‘unnaturally’ in Ireland since 2007

The White-tailed Eagle – one of the world’s largest eagles with a massive average two metre wingspan – was once fairly common throughout much of Europe, and widespread in Scotland and Ireland in the 18th century. More than 100 eyries were known in Britain with at least 50 in Ireland in the early 19th century. By 1900 only a handful of pairs remained on the British Isles, all in Scotland. The last breeding record in Scotland was on the Isle of Skye in 1916, and the last British White-tailed Eagle was shot in Shetland two years later. As became so evident when reintroduction programmes began and pairs rapidly started to establish territories again, habitat loss or a lack of prey was not a factor. As the RSPB states unequivocally, “The species became extinct in the UK as a result of direct and sustained persecution by shepherds, gamekeepers, fishery owners, skin collectors and egg collectors“.

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Who eats all the soya?

One of the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss is habitat loss to agriculture – in other words, enormous changes to natural habitats to grow our food. It’s estimated that as recently as 1000 years ago, less than 4% of the world’s ice-free and non-barren land area was used for farming. Now we have taken nearly HALF of all habitable land on the planet for our agriculture. The vast Cerrado region of Brazil, for example, once covered an area half the size of Europe, but around half the native savannah and forest of the Cerrado has been converted to agriculture since the late 1950s. Converted mainly for beef cattle ranching and to grow soybeans. Since the 1950s global soybean production has increased 15 times over. But who – or what – is eating all those beans…?

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Buglife | B Lines

Insect decline is inextricably linked with pesticides and habitat loss. The latter also leads to habitat fragmentation, pockets that are no longer linked and which have less species diversity. The charity Buglife has proposed setting up a nationwide system of insect ‘corridors’ they are calling ‘B Lines’. As they put it “We need to restore our countryside. We need to increase the number of wildflower-rich places, and we need to make sure that these areas are large enough to provide everything that pollinators need to thrive. We also need to join the dots. And that is where B-Lines comes in.”

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A quick note to Alexander Armstrong

Now, we’re always aware at The War on Wildlife Project that we don’t have the authority to speak for any particular pro-wildlife side or group other than our own (though we have been around a lot of pro-wildlife folks for a very long time), but, ‘Xander’, you’re really missing the point. In our eyes, so-called ‘country sports’ is nothing more than killing birds and mammals that a great many of us cherish and love, and there is no difference at all between so-called ‘country sports’ and the ‘sportsmen’ who take part in it. You don’t get one without the other, do you? There is no separation here, ‘Xander’, so-called ‘country sports’ IS the people who shoot and hunt and maim and harm and kill. You are one and the same. We don’t know you, ‘Xander’, but you identify yourself as a shooter and we have seen statements like yours a thousand times, been ‘huntsplained’ to a thousand times, given that peculiarly patronising, supercilious down-the-nose look that says ‘Oh, poor you, you’ve never been shooting, have you’ a thousand times. We know what’s behind your question, ‘Xander’, and you don’t get to imply that we’re dishonest or insincere when we have been nothing but honest and sincere about our love of wildlife…

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Mountain Hares (partially) protected

The Scottish Government have finally confirmed they will implement a Scottish Greens amendment to protect Mountain Hares under the proposed Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Act. The amendment came on the back of a 2019 report by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee to the EU which revealed that Scotland’s Mountain Hare populations have experienced a major decline [BTO Breeding Bird Survey mammal data concluded that there had been notable decreases in mountain hare populations in 108 of the 316 10km squares for which the species was assessed in Scotland between 1995/99 and 2011/15 time periods].The report led to the conservation status of the Mountain Hare being downgraded to unfavourable, which meant that special conservation action needed to be undertaken to halt further declines and aid their recovery. The amendment means that Mountain Hares will only be permitted to be killed under licence (for example to ‘protect’ forestry operations), and will effectively end the mass-scale killing on grouse moors.

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Language Matters | Guest Post: Liv Cooper

“Our society has a deep-rooted, seldom recognised, and unfounded intolerance of wildlife being what it says on the tin – wild. This intolerance is an unobtrusive destroyer of biodiversity, with a secret weapon that allows it to take hold in our minds from a young age, which is, of course, language. We’re raised on words such as’ weed’,’ pest’ and ‘vermin’, all of which have strong connotations with dirty, unwanted plants and animals that are uncontrolled and offensive. These labels wield enormous power, being able to justify actions of the destruction of a species under a simple and dangerous concept, that “they’re not supposed to be here”. Even for nature-lovers and conservationists, it’s easy to be blinded by these labels, with a lower value put on certain species from the moment you learn of them, branded with worthlessness and blame. ” Guest post by Liv Cooper

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