Do protected areas benefit wildlife?

Do protected areas benefit wildlife?

A new study published in the journal Nature suggests that there is room for improvement when it comes to protected areas and their impact on wildlife. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN): “A protected area is a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.” This includes areas such as national parks, nature reserves, wilderness areas and areas of outstanding natural beauty. When you look at the definition of a protected area by the IUCN and as the findings of this study would suggest, it’s not just as simple as selecting an area on the map and calling it a protected area. Especially when research indicates that wildlife populations in protected areas are not necessarily any better off than those in unprotected ones. As reported by the BBC, the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) is taking place in the...
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Biodiversity – the variety of all life on earth

Biodiversity – the variety of all life on earth

More than 40,000 species are threatened with extinction. With this being a worrying statistic in itself, the loss of each individual species is part of the much wider concerns of biodiversity loss. Biodiversity is as crucial for human life as it is for the ecosystem. The variety of plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms in an ecosystem work together to benefit each other and keep the habitat sustainable. Benefits of biodiversity to humans are known as ecosystem services examples of these include: Forests that reduce flood risks Coastline protection from sea level changes Regulation of pollution by wetlands Even something as simple as a walk in the park to ease anxiety The smallest of changes can have large consequences to a species and its ecosystem. There are many causes of biodiversity loss, many worsened by the impacts of the human population. Big steps are needed in sustainable consumption and production and tackling climate change to think about making up for the biodiversity already lost and how to move forwards...
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Emergency use of neonicotinoid pesticide to put bees at risk

Emergency use of neonicotinoid pesticide to put bees at risk

A recent article by BBC News highlights the approval of bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticide thiamethoxam for sugar beet crops in England in 2022. The pesticide is banned from outdoor use in almost all EU countries due to the risk to pollinator populations. The emergency is a risk of viruses spread by aphids which could potentially affect 70% of the national sugar beet crop and has come a relief to farmers. The government advises that the decision has not been made lightly and contingencies have been put into place following the use of the pesticide. However, the potential risk to pollinating insects, soils and rivers has been met with criticism by The Wildlife Trusts and other conservation organisations questioning the government ignoring expert advice.   Do you think the benefits outweigh the potential risks? ...
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Wonderful Woodpigeons to Splendid Sparrows

Wonderful Woodpigeons to Splendid Sparrows

February is in full swing as the cold blue hue of winter skies are blown away by the oncoming summer’s breeze, a promise foretold, the earth is beginning to wake up again. The sun is staying out that bit longer, the frost isn’t as thick, blanketing our great green grass, and the first signs of spring will begin to become visible in the next few weeks. Although our winter in the Northern Hemisphere ends on the 20th of March, nature works within its own timescale. When the temperature bumps up even slightly, frogs (Rana temporaria) will begin to emerge from their hibernation and will begin as we do during Valentines, to look for love. We may even see some early frogspawn by the end of the month! Our Toads (Bufo Bufo) withal may want a bit more of a lie in and will hold out a little longer before coming out to greet us. Never mind however, as we cast...
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Rockpool Species will Struggle to Migrate to UK Waters as Sea Temperatures Rise

Rockpool Species will Struggle to Migrate to UK Waters as Sea Temperatures Rise

A recent study by the University of Exeter which focused on the tiny crab (Clibanarius erythropus), gifted ecologists around the UK quite a scare on the 20th of January. This little crab is part of the hermit crab family and lives in rockpools in the Mediterranean, Black Sea, and now more recently (2016) in Cornwall after not being seen for thirty-six years! While our little crab is thought to have migrated from Northern France in Brittany, The Centre for Ecology in Exeter stated that the crab has only made the channel crossing just twice in fifty years. This is due to the currents only being suitable every ten years, although even on those currents, the time it takes for larvae to be carried to the UK is longer than most of the species can survive especially in the open water. Other species groups such as sea snails, sponges and seaweed just can’t survive in the open water like crabs and...
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Which animals are most likely to get COVID-19?

Which animals are most likely to get COVID-19?

Cats, dogs, ferrets and civets are most susceptible to COVID-19, a new research says. The findings come after a wild mink tested positive for COVID-19 in the US - the first coronavirus case detected in a wild animal.  Monitoring COVID-19 cases in animals is important, as they can become reservoirs of the virus and cause it to mutate and make potential vaccines less effective. The study, published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology, used computer modelling to see how the virus's spike protein invades the cells of animals and humans.  It looked at 10 species in total, with humans, ferrets, cats, dogs and civets most susceptible to the new coronavirus. Mice, rats, chicken and ducks were found less prone to a COVD-19 infection.  The researchers also found that different variants of ACE-2 in humans - the receptor which binds with the spike protein - could affect the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.  Find out more about COVID-19 and animals here....
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