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.

Continue reading

Reintroduction and Rewilding Summit April 2021

Subtitled ‘A Focus on Wildlife Restoration and a Vision for the Future’, the teams at Birds of Poole Harbour (BoPH – Paul Morton, Liv Cooper, and Brittany Maxted) and The Self-Isolating Bird Club (SIBC – Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin) are hosting an online ‘Summit’ in April looking at the incredible work going on to reintroduce, restore, rewild, and relocate wildlife and their habitats to the UK (and beyond). From Ospreys to White Storks and Vultures to Beavers there is a huge effort taking place to bring back populations of species that have been driven out by persecution, hunting, and habitat loss in the past. There is a great deal to celebrate, and in a period that has (to put it mildly) been just a little wearisome, BoPH and the SIBC feel that doing a little ‘shouting from the rooftops’ to discuss the huge characters and the visionary projects taking place across the nation is exactly what we all need! A sentiment we here at The WoW Project heartily endorse…

Continue reading

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“.

Continue reading

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…?

Continue reading

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.”

Continue reading

Vegan Society | Planting Value in the Food System

So much of the biodiversity loss we discuss on this site results from what we eat. That might seem an odd call to make, but food production is a vast driver of ecosystem change. Human demand for food impacts the rest of life on the planet through the land we take to grow our crops, the forests we clear for oils and soya, the rivers we’ve diverted to irrigate crops, the uncountable insects and plants we’ve destroyed with our pesticides – and that’s not to mention the trillions and trillions of animals we’ve taken from the oceans or locked into factory farms. As the Vegan Society says quite correctly, “our food system is broken”. Is there an alternative though? Published on the 12th July by the Vegan Society, Planting Value in the Food System presents an ambitious but practical vision for a fully plant-based food system with the ability to help achieve climate targets, reduce the impact on our health service, improve the experiences of farmers and farm workers, and ultimately save the lives of thousands of animals.

Continue reading

California | Monarch Butterflies now rarer than Starbucks

We’ve posted several times about the plummeting numbers of Monarch Butterflies. Once an abundant species that wintered in vast numbers in Mexican pine forests (check out nature documentaries from just a decade ago that showed whole trees weighed down with hibernating Monarchs), the two populations (western and eastern, divided by the Rockies) are vanishing in an extinction reminiscent of the Passenger Pigeon or Buffalo. Once such an integral part of the landscape, literally billions of Monarchs were found right across North America. In 2020 the western Monarch was thought to be functionally extinct, and according to recent estimates just 2000 overwintering western Monarchs were counted this year. Eastern Monarchs are headed in the same direction and have declined by more than 80% over the past two decades. Most of us will have seen Monarchs at some point, or seen videos of them shimmering in shards of sunlight. It’s an incredibly depressing thought that if you haven’t and you want to, you really don’t have much time left…

Continue reading