Beauty Is A Beast


3029 Culling could undermine the viability of the entire Norwegian wolf population, say conservationists. Photograph: Roger Strandli Berghagen

We love sheep, and sheep farmers, and shepherds, and wool, and so on. But we cannot read this without feeling more sympathy for the wolves, at this moment:

Norway’s wolf cull pits sheep farmers against conservationists

Norway’s recent decision to destroy 70% of its tiny endangered population of wolves shocked conservationists worldwide and saw 35,000 sign a local petition. But in a region dominated by sheep farming support for the cull runs deep

Elisabeth Ulven and Tone Sutterud in Oslo

Conservation groups worldwide were astonished to hear of the recent, unprecedented decision to destroy 70% of the Norway’s tiny and endangered population of 68 wolves, the biggest cull for almost a century.

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UK to ban fishing from a million square kilometres of ocean

Exposing the Big Game

Government creates marine protected areas around four islands in the Pacific and Atlantic, with commercial fishing banned in some areas
One of the world’s biggest marine protected ares will be created around the Pitcairn Islands

Adam Vaughan
Thursday 15 September 2016 06.

In total, the government is creating marine protected areas around four islands in the Pacific and Atlantic, including the designation this week of one of the world’s biggest around the Pitcairn Islands.

A 840,000 sq km (320,000 sq mile) area around Pitcairn, where the mutineers of the Bounty settled, becomes a no-take zone for any fishing from this week. St Helena, around 445,000 sq km of the south Atlantic ocean and home to whale sharks and humpbacks, is now also designated as a protected area.

The foreign office said it would designate two further marine protection zones, one each around two south Altantic islands – Ascension by…

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Kingfisher, ducks, swan on Voorne island

Cost of Wind Energy to Decrease


Photo via Pinterest

With Deepwater Wind’s Block Island energy farm in Rhode Island completed – all five turbines of it – it’s not surprising to learn that the cost of wind power, just like that of solar, is going to decline in coming years, according to industry experts. Prachi Patel reports for Conservation Magazine:

Wind energy is soaring around the world thanks to technology advances and energy policies that have reduced its cost. And things are only going to get better with prices dropping substantially by mid-century, according to a survey of 163 of the world’s leading wind energy experts. The results, published in the journal Nature Energysuggest that the cost of electricity from wind could drop by 24–30 percent by 2030 relative to 2014 prices, and by 35–41 percent by 2050.

The key driver of this price drop? Bigger, more efficient turbines, according to the experts. Taller turbines with larger…

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Monkeying Around

Monkeying Around


Photo by Seth Inman Photo by Seth Inman

Spider monkey encounters are commonplace at Chan Chich Lodge. Whether it be during an early morning bird walk or a late afternoon read on the porch futon, spider monkeys will likely make their swinging appearance from the tree top branches at some point during the day. They are curious, but daring creatures that will have no shame in shaking up a couple of branches above your head and letting fruits fall on you if they feel threatened (an inexplicable reaction in my mind when I humbly walk through the trails hoping to catch sight of a Tody Motmot).

Having been in Belize for over a month, I have several memorable anecdotes to share about spider monkeys, but I will share two that I believe encapsulate the magnificence of these intelligent creatures.

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Giraffes Are Not One But Four Different Species

Natural History Wanderings

The NY Times reported on the discovery that giraffes are not one but four very distinct speicies

“The genetic differences between giraffes is so large that we have to in fact describe four new species,” said Axel Janke, a geneticist from the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center in Frankfurt. “Some of the differences were as large or larger than the differences between brown bears and polar bears.”

Read story at A Quadruple Take on the Giraffe: There are Four Species, Not One – The New York Times

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September Highlights

Hethersett Birdlife

Autumn has rolled into the village with more than a hint of summer in the weather but not enough to prevent the last twittering house martins from flying off to the coast. Other voices replace them however and mornings and most evenings now begin and end with robins starting to proclaim their patches after a quiet summer  of moulting. Most evening also bring the villages tawny owls out to do some early territorial and breeding calls. Perhaps the most obvious replacement for flocks of twittering martins is the quite sizeable charms of tinkling goldfinches which have appeared in the last week or so.

Everyones favourite the Goldfinch Credit: GemElle Photography – struggling to keep up via Compfightcc

The last couple of weeks have seen me take to the streets in what I hope is a new craze that will rival the ‘Pokemon  Go’ which is ‘Bat running’  which combines…

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Standing Rock Protest Grows With Thousands Opposing North Dakota Pipeline

Standing Rock Protest Grows With Thousands Opposing North Dakota Pipeline


Red Warrior Camp in southern North Dakota was set up to back the Standing Rock Sioux Nation's fight against an oil pipeline, and has swelled as thousands show up in support. (Trevor Brine/CBC) Red Warrior Camp in southern North Dakota was set up to back the Standing Rock Sioux Nation’s fight against an oil pipeline, and has swelled as thousands show up in support. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

People from across North America join fight that tribal leader says is ‘not going to end any time soon

By Tim Fontaine, CBC News Posted: Sep 08, 2016

Thousands of people have joined the Standing Rock Sioux Nation’s fight against construction of a contentious oil pipeline, a showdown Indigenous leaders in North Dakota warn won’t end anytime soon.

They’re opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline, a multimillion-dollar project that’s supposed to transport light sweet crude oil from the Bakken oilfield near the Canadian border to Illinois.

Pipeline track An area cleared for the Dakota Access Pipeline can be seen from the side of Highway 6, south of Bismarck, N.D. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

Tribal leaders and their supporters fear a…

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Eurasian nuthatch video