Posts Tagged ‘habitats’

Monday Moaning





Why do we have to be such bastards?


Development could lead to extinction of rare Australian bird

Regent_Honeyeater@bodyThe critically endangered Regent Honeyeater could be at risk of extinction if plans to develop an industrial estate in New South Wales in Australia goes ahead, experts have found.

The bird is endemic to South Eastern Australia and this site contains one of the most important breeding habitats for this extremely rare bird, whose population has declined by more than 80 percent over the last 24 years.

“We are now certain that Regent Honeyeaters rely on this site for food and to breed,” said Samantha Vine, Head of Conservation at BirdLife Australia. “Development of this site will be catastrophic for this imperilled species.”

“In 2007–8 observers recorded 20 nests and around 100 individual birds,” said lead author, Mick Roderick. “With fewer than 400 adult Regent Honeyeaters remaining in the wild, this represents around 25 per cent of this species’ current global population.”

On light of these findings BirdLife Australia has asked the Federal Government  to revoke approval of the site and find an alternative site for the industrial estate.

“The birds’ breeding habitat in the Tomalpin woodlands must be protected to ensure the ongoing survival of the Regent Honeyeater,” Samantha said. “They face increasing pressures from mining developments, climate change and pests, and depend on this area as a refuge”.


When are we going to open our eyes?

Why do the capitalist pigs have to have the final say?

Go and build your indutrial site somewhere else! Just because you own the land financially, doesn’t mean you have to destroy habitats like this.

You don’t have the right!

Source: WildlifeExtra

Nature Ramble

Rare songbird faces fire ant threat


Adult birds are black

Rain, rats and fire ants threaten the survival of the rare Tahiti monarch, despite a record best year for its conservation.

Just 10 breeding pairs remain in the wild population, which numbers fewer than 50 mature birds in total.

Efforts to save the birds won an award from conservation partnership BirdLife International.

But experts warn that poor weather and predators could dramatically affect the current breeding season.

The Tahiti monarch (Pomarea nigra) is a species of monarch flycatcher that lives in four forested valleys on the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia.

Adults are black with pale blue beaks and juveniles are a red-brown colour.

Populations of the songbirds have declined throughout the 20th Century, but a local conservation programme that has been running for the past 16 years has succeeded in boosting breeding figures.

In 2013, conservationists at Manu, the Polynesian Ornithological Society, saw a record four-fold increase in chicks compared with the previous year.

Their efforts to manage the forest home of the critically endangered monarchs won the BirdLife International People’s Choice Award, voted for by the public.

School children have been replanting native trees

“Rats are not supposed to be on Tahiti, they arrived on boats and have killed thousands of birds,” said Ms Blanvillain.

“And now there are fire ants on the edge of the valley. If the ants reach the nest they will eat the chicks and adults in minutes.”

Little fire ants, also known as electric ants because of their stinging bite, were first discovered in Tahiti in 2004 and have since colonised large areas of the island.

The predatory ants are native to South and Central America and are considered a pest species elsewhere in the world where they disturb the native ecology.

“Alien invasive species are the second biggest threat to birds,” said Mr Fowlie.

“Across the Pacific, we know a lot of birds have gone extinct because of introduced species,” he said citing destructive animals such as pigs, through plants that provide unsuitable nest sites, down to mosquitoes that can spread alien diseases.

Manu have installed hundreds of rat trapping stations throughout the forest and recruited local school children to help plant native trees in an effort to restore the birds’ natural habitat.

“This is a bird that evolved for this particular island and this particular habitat. It’s always difficult to say what would happen if the species went extinct, we just don’t know,” said Mr Fowlie.

“But it’s one part of a complex fabric of ecosystem and as you start to lose bits the whole thing can unravel. It’s important to keep everything in place.”


Nature Ramble

One of the lesser known animals of the world is the lemur, it’s a primate and it lives only in Madagascar.

Tourism best hope for critically endangered lemurs

Madagascar’s lemurs – the world’s most threatened primate – could be saved from extinction by eco-tourism, conservationists say.

The big-eyed fluffy creatures are unique to the island but their numbers have declined dramatically in recent years.

Now researchers have unveiled a survival plan that combines tourism with increased conservation efforts.

There are over 100 species of lemur known to science, the majority of which are at dangerously low levels, largely due to habitat loss from illegal logging.

Madagascar is the only known home of these species as its unique location, split off from the African mainland, has allowed the primates to evolve in near isolation.

Political turmoil has enveloped Madagascar following a coup in 2009. As a result of the instability, illegal logging has increased on the island, a source of valuable rosewood and ebony trees.

Due to a lack of environmental policing, the habitat of the lemurs has been under constant threat and the primates are now one of the most endangered groups of vertebrates on the planet.

Over 90% of these species are at risk and are on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN)’s red list of threatened species.

This includes over 20 species regarded as critically endangered, which is the highest level of threat.

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Bipedicus Destructicus

Reblog from: Violet’s Veg*n Isn’t that Earth?

Click on the above link and follow the subsequent posts… A good story.

Nature Ramble

Today, the Lake District, and a problem.

People out grow pets, fads bring on new pets, people can’t cope with the grown animals, fads disappear leaving an unwanted animals in their wake.

Often as not, this creates a problem, because you release the animal into the wild far from its natural habitat where things are different and it has to adapt, often at the expense of other animals that were part of the original scheme of things.

Abandoned terrapins stalk Lake District

Pets bought in the wake of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle craze have been let loose and now pose a threat to wildlife and children

Terrapins can grow to the size of dinner plates, and are aggressive and smelly Photograph: Graeme Robertson

The ducks at Tebay services in Cumbria have a pretty good life. A cracking view of the Pennines on one side and the Lakeland fells on the other; a lovely pond by the northbound restaurant and a diet supplemented by organic leftovers from the award-winning farm shop inside. Just don’t mention the terrapins.

A few years ago something odd befell these otherwise lucky ducks, according to Terry Bowes, director of Wetheriggs Zoo and Animal Sanctuary up the M6 at Clifton Dykes near Penrith. “I had a call from Tebay and a lady there said: ‘We’ve got a problem here. Some of our ducks only have one leg. I think they must have some sort of disease.’ I went down there to have a look, and what did we find? Three red-eared terrapins the size of dinner plates! They’d been chomping the ducks’ legs off!”

Last week Bowes caused a ripple of alarm when he warned parents in the Lake District to look out for marauding terrapins, which have been dumped in the national park’s waters after becoming too big for their owners to cope with. “If you have kids paddling in a river the turtles could easily snap off a toe or a finger. They can become quite aggressive when they have grown,” he said.

So should holidaymakers panic at the growing terrapin threat? Bowes wouldn’t go quite that far. It turns out his intervention was more a cri de coeur. He was exasperated at the routine abandonment of creatures that suffered the misfortune of becoming fashionable at the time of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle craze.

“I was just a bit fed up with the situation,” he said on Friday as he showed the Observer around his charmingly ramshackle sanctuary. “The other Monday we had 14 terrapins come in on one day – by the end of the week we had more than 20. In the last year we’ve had more than 100 from 15 different species of freshwater terrapins. I was thinking what we could do about them all and then I heard about another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle film coming out soon and steam came out of my ears. I was thinking, ‘Oh no, this is only going to get worse.'”

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Before getting pets for your kids, have a good think about the future and the consequences.

Nature Ramble

This week we have a look at a habitat in danger.

Good old England, Kent, in fact.

Row over £1bn development plan on nightingale habitat site in Kent

Conservationists in clash with the government over Lodge Hill, once used by MoD to train soldiers, now home to nightingales

The nightingale has flown into a cabinet-level row over a proposed £1bn housing development which threatens the bird’s most important UK site. Photograph: Alamy

The nightingale has flown into a cabinet-level row over a proposed £1bn housing development which threatens the bird’s most important UK site. Photograph: Alamy

The nightingale, praised in Keats’s famous ode as “pouring forth thy soul abroad / In such an ecstasy”, has flown into a cabinet-level row over a proposed £1bn housing development which threatens the bird’s most important UK site.

The nightingale’s song has been feted, but its numbers in the UK have crashed by 90% in the past 40 years. However, it has established a stronghold on a former Ministry of Defence site, Lodge Hill in Kent, once used to prepare soldiers for service in Northern Ireland and for bomb disposal training.

But the 85 male birds that stake out their territory in the ancient woodland and scrub face the advance of property giant Land Securities, developing the site for the MoD, and Medway council, which says the 5,000 homes planned and the associated jobs are badly needed.

The clash of a major housing development, a central part of the government’s plan for economic revival, with a small flock of birds has ruffled feathers at the highest level, with prime minister David Cameron telling environment secretary Owen Paterson to fix the problem, the Guardian has learned. The intervention follows George Osborne’s reported complaints about other “feathered obstacles” to development.

The poet Sir Andrew Motion, president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England and a biographer of Keats, says the cultural importance of the nightingale’s “art” – its song – endures: “It is such a small, brown bird that only presents itself at night, it could hardly be more humble. But when it opens its beak this absolutely ravishing sounds comes out” which matches a British sense of what art should be. “We don’t approve of peacocks,” he added.

Motion said there were now many places where housing developments and wild places were in conflict and said using old urban and industrial sites, rather than those rich in wildlife, must always be the first priority: “When you concrete over green spaces, that is England gone.”

The row intensified this month when Natural England, the government’s statutory wildlife adviser, declared Lodge Hill’s nightingales and wild flowers to be a site of special scientific interest, raising the barrier to development even higher.

Tory-run Medway council condemned the decision as “astonishing”. A spokeswoman said: “We have the absurd situation of a government agency, Natural England, stopping a government department, the MoD, from proceeding with their plans to relinquish their former training grounds. We are deeply unhappy with this decision.” The council, which will appeal against the SSSI decision, said the site was “littered with munitions and, due to delays, has become overgrown”.

But Owen Sweeney, from the Medway Countryside Forum, said: “The place is a treasure, a real jewel. I have taken my grandchildren up there to hear their first nightingale and it is a joy to watch their faces enraptured by the song.”

He said the blackthorn and bramble scrub, as well as the coppiced ancient woodland, was a wonderful habitat for the extremely shy bird, which spends 12 weeks or so on the 815-acre site before wintering in west Africa. “These are the remaining green lungs amid the sprawling development around: Medway is full,” said Sweeney.

Anna Heslop, an RSPB casework officer, blamed the council for the impasse. “The problem is not the SSSI designation, or that nightingales are on the site, the problem is that Medway council are not going through the proper procedures to look at whether there is any alternative or whether this is the only place this housing can go.” She said the RSPB was not anti-housing and worked with builders to make developments as wildlife-friendly as possible where there was genuinely no alternative.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said: “Growing the economy is the government’s top priority and we can do this at the same time as we improve the environment.” She suggested that “biodiversity offsetting” – where new habitat is created elsewhere to compensate for a habitat destroyed – could be a solution.: “Lodge Hill presents a strong opportunity to test this policy to allow development while ensuring wildlife and habitats thrive.”

But Chris Packham, naturalist and TV presenter, said: “The bird migrates all the way to Africa and then it comes back to exactly the same tree. The idea that we can make a new habitat 20 miles away and expect the birds to go there is nonsense.”

He added: “Sadly, the nightingale is a bird that more people know about than ever will hear, because of its catastrophic decline. Most of the sites I grew up with have fallen silent now.” Only 6,000 singing males remain in the UK.

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I know this is a politically motivated ramble for which I make no apologies, but have a listen to the song.

Saturday Satire on Eco-Crap

Make you Fink on Friday

Let them die out


We hear this word all the time; it has become a by-word.

Everything is becoming extinct, even us, because of us.

But daily we hear of rhinos, black, white, Javan, of tigers and elephants, all under more immediate threat than us.

However, there is another group of animals that are being consigned to extinction, and nobody is saying “Boo!” In fact decisions have been made to let them die out.

Man is playing God again!

100 most endangered species: priceless or worthless?

Scientists working for the IUCN have identified 100 species they fear will be allowed to die out as they have no obvious benefits for humans. Published on Tuesday at the World Conservation Congress in South Korea, the list was compiled by 8,000 scientists, and is the first of its kind

Rio Pescado stubfoot toad, Atelopus balios Population size: Unknown Range: Azuay, Cañar and Guyas provinces, south-western Ecuador Threats: Chytridiomycosis and habitat destruction due to logging and agricultural expansion Action required: Protection of last remaining habitat – Photograph: Eduardo Toral-Contreras/ZSL/IUCN

See and read about another 28 species


Sloths, bats, chameleons, iguanas; and not only animals, plants too like the wild yam of South Africa are amongst the most endangered species.

Apparently, if they have no obvious value, man is not interested in saving them.

My thinking is that any animal or plant that is in danger of extinction because of man’s activities like destruction of habitats, the introduction of alien predators,  or over-harvesting, then efforts should be made to save them.

To say that one species should be saved, but another is not, is not man’s decision to make. We have interrupted the balance and we should redress the imbalance. It is our responsibility to do so.

I can understand not taking action where the inevitable demise is naturally generated, that is Mother Nature at work, in her infinite wisdom.

I am saddened beyond comprehension, actually, appalled would be a better word, to think that man has stooped this low.

Make you Fink on Friday

Street lights ‘changing ecology on the ground’

The study could have big implications for a shifting of the ecology in urban and suburban areas

The presence of street lights substantially changes the ecology of ground-dwelling invertebrates and insects, research suggests.

Scientists trapped nearly 1,200 of the animals in areas under and between street lights in Helston in Cornwall.

They report in Biology Letters that invertebrate predators and scavengers were more common near the lights, even during the day.

That suggests street lights influence ecology more than previously thought.

Much work in recent years has gone into addressing the effects that street lights can have on local, transient populations of bugs – particularly those that can fly and have significant ranges of exploration.

But the effects of street lights on the vast communities of invertebrates on the ground remained unaddressed.

Source: BBC News Read more


There, just another example of man’s guilt at changing the nature of things.

Everything man does, has an adverse effect on the environment.

Bugs under street light photo time-lapse photography

Now, on the surface, we may not think that altering the habitats of ‘bugs’ is that important. But what if a particular ‘bug’ was required to prey on another particular ‘bug’ and one was and the other wasn’t attracted to light. Then the ‘bug’ that was controlled is now free of predators to swarm and multiply so that it becomes a noxious pest, possibly to the detriment of mankind.

There exist also possibilities of street lights being the cause of extinction. Fireflies, for example, prefer street lights to sex, because the street lights are brighter than the signal light for sex from their own species.

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