Finding rare bats with DNA testing
The National Bats in Churches Study is a major citizen science survey covering over 1000 churches between 2019 and 2022. The survey included a questionnaire, collection of droppings for DNA analysis and the placing of bat detectors.
The aim of the study was to understand more about which species of bats use churches and why, to help them remain living there without causing a burden or damage to the church. Researchers are currently analysing the data of this particular survey to share their findings next year.
An exciting outcome from the study so far is that one of the UK’s rarest bats, the grey long-eared bat (Plecotus austriacus), was found to be roosting in a church in Somerset. This was all thanks to the DNA analysis of bat droppings.
It is thought that there are only around 1000 grey long-eared bats in England with very few confirmed records. In comparison to the grey long-eared bat, brown long-eared (Plecotus auritus) bats although...
Around two weeks ago in the Netherlands, two fur farms reported Mink (Neovison vison) infected with Covid-19. Farmers at the facility caught the virus but are now safe in quarantine.
This is now adding to the ever-expanding list of animals known to be able to contract the virus which even includes lions and tigers.
In a new case, lions and tigers from the New York Zoo caught the disease from their keepers.
This evidence shows that this deadly virus can spread between humans and animals, threatening endangered animals even more.
To keep the virus from spreading, we need to keep the interactions between wild animals and humans to a minimum. Some animals that can catch the virus include horseshoe bats, red foxes, wild boar and possibly even domestic cats and dogs.
This means that there needs to be tougher regulations surrounding the wildlife trade as well as regulations to keep our ecosystems safe where human interaction is necessary.
The potential of this virus spreading is another...
Imagine. Imagine vast natural forests casting dappled lights across mossy nutrient rich ground, glades full to the brim with wild long-forgotten flowers filling the air with their rich aroma, and vast open spaces full of lush green grasses rippling in the wind like the sea on a stormy winter’s day.
A natural mosaic of mottled purple and yellow stretches over wide-open spaces, all untouched by mankind. Animals once roamed that land and they may once again if time allows it.
No matter how pleasant we may think Britain is today with its gently sloping hills and patched blanket work of farmers' fields it is merely a reminder of what is once was.
Now that that first scene has all but disappeared, Britain is one of the few countries that doesn’t have top predators and as we all know, top predators help other species flourish.
Some conservationists believe that some parts of the UK should be left to live in a totally wild...
Firstly, what is climate change?
Climate change is defined as 'the long-term shift in average weather patterns across the world'. It is a natural process and without it our planet would be 30°C cooler. Hostile to life.
The release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere creates a thick blanket around our planet, insulating it. This is where the name 'greenhouse' comes from.
When we burn fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil, we release gases that trap heat from the sun's incoming rays. Faster warming corresponds with the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and therefore carbon dioxide is labelled as a major offender contributing to this crisis. Our apparent need for burning hydrocarbon fuels such as wood and coal really doesn't help.
As we cut down forests and burn fossil fuels, we are releasing carbon that combines with oxygen in the air which predominately forms CO2 and water vapour.
It has been said that there is now...
Imagine a creature older than dinosaurs themselves, with lips pulled back in an endless scream, trailed by a ghoulish bunch of tentacles laced with poison. You guessed it, cnidarians, more commonly known as jellyfish.
Before I tell you more about these graceful aliens of the sea, I would like you to first know that there are approximately 50 million jellyfish stings each year, which equates to around 411,000 stings each day, 17,000 stings per hour or 4-5 stings every second.
So, by the time you have read this sentence (depending on how quickly you read) 105 people across the world will have been stung by a jellyfish. I would like you to keep that in mind while you read this blog.
Did you know that jellyfish are older than dinosaurs? This means that they have been pulsing through Earth's waters for at least 600 million years! So, by my calculations, if all of the time that jellyfish have lived on Earth was...
The coronavirus. Where to start? Well, the coronavirus started in the city of Wuhan, China and has spread to several countries across the world within a matter of weeks. To date, 43,104 cases have been reported, of which 38,043 people are currently infected, 7,345 are in a serious or critical condition and 1,018 have died. The total number of people who have recovered from the virus currently stands at 4,043 people.
The name ‘corona’ refers to the virus’s distinct wreath-like shape. It is common in mammals and birds and in rare cases can spread to humans like it has done. Researchers believe that SARS-CoV-2, newly named Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), originated from an animal in a seafood and animal market in Wuhan. Identification of this animal is key to controlling the current outbreak and gauging its threat going forward.
It is estimated that 70% of emerging infections have come from wild animals and strong evidence now indicates that Covid-19 originated from...
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