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US poised to approve genetically engineered salmon, environmentalists warn

US poised to approve genetically engineered salmon, environmentalists warn | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
Federal regulators are preparing to approve the sale of genetically engineered salmon without requiring labeling of the fish, a leading environmental group warned this week. Food &
Gordon McGlone's insight:

GM foods may have a role to play in meeting future human food needs but surely labelling is a key to building consumer confidence.

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Submit Seabird Sightings; storms and cuts to monitoring add up to a double whammy

Submit Seabird Sightings; storms and cuts to monitoring add up to a double whammy | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it

With record-breaking storms causing massive mortality of birds wintering at sea, The Wildlife Trusts are concerned that, simultaneously, funding for vital research and monitoring is being scrapped.

Gordon McGlone's insight:

The Wildlife Trusts issue a "Call to arms" for volunteers and don't stint on criticism of Welsh funding cuts to an internationally important seabird monitoring programme .

The Wildlife Trusts issued this powerful call for local seabird sightings today Tuesday March 4th.


Massive loss of life for storm-hit seabirds

 

With record-breaking storms causing massive mortality of birds wintering at sea, The Wildlife Trusts are concerned that, simultaneously, funding for vital research and monitoring is being scrapped.

 

Natural Resources Wales has withdrawn funding from long-term seabird research which generates critical data, including one 40 year old programme of monitoring Skomer’s guillemots, led by the University of Sheffield. 

 

Skomer and Skokholm on the Pembrokeshire coast are home to over 20,000 puffins, around 28,000 guillemots and 9,000 razorbills, which make up the most important colony of cliff-nesting seabirds in southern Britain.  Many birds local to both of these sites are amongst the recent casualties at sea.

 

Dr Lizzie Wilberforce, Conservation Manager with The Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales, believes the unprecedented combination of threats facing seabirds make them a priority for research.  She said:  “We are recording declines in breeding success of many colonies which we believe to be connected to climate change.  Together with storm impacts and pollution events, we have reason to be very concerned for these iconic species.  We are also seeing significant cuts to the funding that supports seabird research and monitoring, just when we need it most.  Natural Resources Wales has withdrawn funding altogether from one 40 year old programme of monitoring Skomer’s guillemots, led by the University of Sheffield, which generates absolutely critical data. 

 

As birds prepare to return to their breeding grounds, the storms are preventing them from being able to feed and many are dying as a result of starvation and exhaustion.  This massive loss of life is described as a ‘seabird wreck’. 

 

Dr Wilberforce continues: “The timing couldn’t be worse - as storms coming across the Atlantic continue, Europe’s seabirds are fighting a losing battle against these natural events.  We really need to understand how birds are reacting to these threats if we are to be equipped to help them.”

 

Latest estimates suggest that there is a confirmed dead or stranding count over the North Atlantic and North Sea coast of around 30,000 – with the majority being found on French coasts.  Birds from UK and Channel Island colonies, many of which have been experiencing population declines and breeding failures in recent years, have been caught up in this latest disaster.   Dr Wilberforce adds:  “Recent research allows us to be confident that many of our birds will have been in the affected area.”

 

More than 2,300 birds have been reported washed up on UK and Channel Island shores, reaching far and wide, but to date the majority are being found in Wales, the South West and the Channel Islands.  

 

Joan Edwards, Head of Living Seas for The Wildlife Trusts, said:  “Whilst many of the impacts of the winter storms have been obvious, the impact to our marine wildlife has been less so – until now.  Birds that have been dying at sea are now coming ashore in unprecedented numbers.  Whilst there is nothing we can do to prevent this, it is of crucial importance that we put in place monitoring mechanisms so that longer term impacts can be realised and understood.

 

“It’s very disturbing that this event has occurred so early this year and so far down into the wintering grounds.  These numbers are in excess of the Polyisobutene deaths last year, and the terrible tragedy following the oil spills of both the Brear and Sea Empress.  It means that not only will this be a very long run event, but it will take even longer for the birds to recover.  With numbers at around 15,000, Puffins seem to be the most affected species, with Razorbills and Guillemots also severely hit.” 

 

Burhou Island - just one and a quarter miles northwest of Alderney - is the centre of the Internationally Important (Ramsar) marine wetland and bird sanctuary and home to 11 species of breeding birds.  Today there are just 168 pairs of Burhou Puffins, down from a colony estimated to be between 6-8,000 post-WWII.  It is one of the most southerly colonies in Europe.  The Puffins spend most of the year out in the Atlantic Ocea, returning to land at the end of March, for just three months to breed and raise their young.

 

Roland Gauvain, Alderney Wildlife Trust’s manager, said: When you consider the impact of 30,000 seabirds dead on the beach the scale of this wreck is mindblowing.  Here in the islands we have seen more than 1,000 birds dead, almost all of which will belong to colonies from throughout Britain and Northern Europe.  National boundaries are not respected by nature, but when the survivors come to settle and breed they will do so in a country, a county or perhaps even our backyards.  If we cannot provide them with an environment which meets their simple needs the decline in seabird populations is only set to accelerate.

 

“Here on the outskirts of the British Isles, where we are subjected to the actions of our large European neighbours with little chance of influencing them, we understand the desperate need to act to create robust marine protected areas is very evident.  Perhaps in the aftermath of the storms we might just find it creeps a little closer to the top of the agenda for once.”

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Climate change is good for you, says ultra-conservative Heartland Institute

Climate change is good for you, says ultra-conservative Heartland Institute | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
New study by thinktank funded by Koch brothers aims to debunk authoritative UN climate change report
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Einstein used thought experiments to consider the absolute speed of light.  However, thinking like a pea does not convince me that the climate change deniers are thinking at an Einsteinian level.

QUOTE

For those concerned about climate change, the ultra-conservative Heartland Institute offers up a calming solution: try thinking of yourself as a pea, instead of a human. Peas in a lab sprouted faster with extreme concentrations of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas mainly responsible for climate change than under normal growing conditions, Heartland said.

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Groups Plan To Sue Over Agency Negligence On Desert Tortoise

Groups Plan To Sue Over Agency Negligence On Desert Tortoise | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
They charge that BLM has failed to track the effects of a wide range of human activities in the California desert on the tortoise, as well as on other Endangered and Threatened desert animal and plant species.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

ABSTRACT


"Seven years of impacts, absent monitoring and changes in management, could doom critically endangered species," said Terry Frewin of the Sierra Club, one of the groups planning to sue. "The BLM's abdication of legal requirements and Fish and Wildlife Service's neglect of enforcement is setting up a crisis for these species already teetering on the brink of extinction."

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Fracking safety: report warns of 'significant unknowns' - The Guardian

Fracking safety: report warns of 'significant unknowns' - The Guardian | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
“The Guardian Fracking safety: report warns of 'significant unknowns' The Guardian It noted the difference between internal failures, where gas, oil or other chemicals did not leak into the wider environment and external failures, where leaks did...”
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Paterson ponders limited badger cull roll out | News | Farmers Guardian

Paterson ponders limited badger cull roll out | News | Farmers Guardian | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
“BADGER culling is likely to be extended to just one new area this year, if Defra Secretary Owen Paterson gives the go ahead to extending the policy within the next week or so.”
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Thousands of birds killed in storms: Funding cut when they need it most

Thousands of birds killed in storms: Funding cut when they need it most | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it

Tens of thousands of birds – especially the auk family such as puffins, guillemots and razorbills – have been killed as a result of the endless gales and storms which have battered the country over the past two months.

Gordon McGlone's insight:

"Yet when the birds need protecting the most, the single most sophisticated research project for monitoring seabird populations in Britain is being scrapped.


Professor Tim Birkhead, of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, has been monitoring more than 20,000 guillemot pairs on Skomer Island, off the coast of Pembrokeshire, for the last 40 years."

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North Atlantic Seabird Wreck 2014 | Alderney Wildlife Trust

North Atlantic Seabird Wreck 2014 | Alderney Wildlife Trust | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
Gordon McGlone's insight:
Exhausted and dead seabirds have washed up on the shores of France, the Channel Islands and south England in their thousands because of the continual stormy weather. We are calling for your support with a pan-Channel Islands emergency response and monitoring effort.
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Seabird tragedy playing out on Channel Island beaches | The Wildlife Trusts

Seabird tragedy playing out on Channel Island beaches | The Wildlife Trusts | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Alderney Wildlife Trust and its patron Miranda Krestovnikoff are calling for a pan-Channel Island effort to increase monitoring and protection of the Channel Islands’ seabirds, in the aftermath of potentially the largest seabird disaster in recent years.

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Owen Paterson - the invisible Minister

Storms, floods, tidal surges, a failed badger cull, GMO controversies ... then Owen Paterson, widely considered the worst Environment Secretary we have ever had, vanished. Lesley Docksey wonders - will he ever return?
Gordon McGlone's insight:

'Owen Paterson, widely considered the worst Environment Secretary we have ever had, vanished.'

QUOTE:-

One Cabinet minister gave MailOnline a surprisingly candid assessment of the man: "He just isn't very bright. Most of the people around the Cabinet table are bright, even if I disagree with them, but not Owen. He isn't climate sceptic, he's climate stupid."

 

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Cost-benefit analysis model of badger (Meles mel... [J Wildl Dis. 2009] - PubMed - NCBI

Abstract

Bovine tuberculosis (TB) is an important economic disease. Badgers (Meles meles) are the wildlife source implicated in many cattle outbreaks of TB in Britain, and extensive badger control is a controversial option to reduce the disease. A badger and cattle population model was developed, simulating TB epidemiology; badger ecology, including postcull social perturbation; and TB-related farm management. An economic cost-benefit module was integrated into the model to assess whether badger control offers economic benefits. Model results strongly indicate that although, if perturbation were restricted, extensive badger culling could reduce rates in cattle, overall an economic loss would be more likely than a benefit. Perturbation of the badger population was a key factor determining success or failure of control. The model highlighted some important knowledge gaps regarding both the spatial and temporal characteristics of perturbation that warrant further research.

Gordon McGlone's insight:

"Model results strongly indicate that although, if perturbation were restricted, extensive badger culling could reduce rates in cattle, overall an economic loss would be more likely than a benefit. Perturbation of the badger population was a key factor determining success or failure of control. "

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Queen's Brian May launches £1 million South West badger vaccination scheme

Queen's Brian May launches £1 million South West badger vaccination scheme | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
Rock star Brian May has launched a campaign to raise £1 million to underwrite five badger vaccination projects in the South West to combat bovine TB ravaging the region.The Queen musician is...
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British Wildlife Photography Awards 2014

British Wildlife Photography Awards 2014 | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it

This year's competition will open on the 1st of February 2014. Watch this website and our Facebook page for more updates.

Gordon McGlone's insight:

Your chance to win a prestigious award, with cash prize of £5,000 and reach millions through national exposure. Help raise awareness about British wildlife and celebrate our natural heritage.

Winners and commended entrants will have their work showcased in a touring exhibition and stunning book, and will be invited to an exclusive Awards ceremony, hosted by Naturalist and TV Presenter Chris Packham.

The overall prize fund worth up to £20,000 includes products from lead sponsors Sky and Canon.

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Mixed outlook for agriculture as cull and CAP dominate

Mixed outlook for agriculture as cull and CAP dominate | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
The weather, the continuing row over the badger cull and the impact of CAP reform are going to be key factors affecting the agricultural sector in 2014, says Jeff WellsThe agricultural sector in the...
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Nature Conservancy gets $1M grant for purchase of St. Martin Island, improving wetlands

Nature Conservancy gets $1M grant for purchase of St. Martin Island, improving wetlands | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
The conservancy received a $1 million grant to go toward its 2013 purchase of the Upper Peninsula island and acquiring additional wetland habitat.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Quote;-

The conservancy plans to protect the habitat of St. Martin Island, which is a stopover spot for birds that migrate through the Great Lakes during the spring and fall. The island is currently uninhabited and will remain closed to the public as the conservancy works to reduce the deer population and assess the extent of its invasive species problem, the conservancy said last fall.

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Gordon McGlone's curator insight, April 12, 2:15 PM

Strategic land purchases such as Upper Peninsula island that protect and conserve key migration stopovers offer the best value for money.

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Senior MP calls for alternative plans to curb bovine TB after condemning pilot culls

Senior MP calls for alternative plans to curb bovine TB after condemning pilot culls | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
BADGER culls are not working and effective measures must be put in place to protect farmers' livelihoods, a senior MP said on her visit to Gloucestershire.
Labour's Maria Eagle, shadow secretary of...
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Gloucestershire policing costs of £2.3M, expended during the 2013 badger cull, will be met from DEFRA's ever shrinking budget.  Not a wise way to spend public monies when nothing scientific or practical was achieved.

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Vanishing Grasslands - Gordon McGlone

Vanishing Grasslands - Gordon McGlone | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
Flower rich grasslands continue to vanish across the country as farmers struggle to balance making an income with conserving ancient meadows.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

I have seen many flower rich meadows lost over the past 30 years.  Neglect, construction and agricultural change all contribute to the dwindling away of this irreplaceable national asset.

The Wildlife Trusts have flagged up the scale of the problem and the need for urgent action.

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WHO: air pollution 'is single biggest environmental health risk' - The Guardian

WHO: air pollution 'is single biggest environmental health risk' - The Guardian | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
“The Guardian WHO: air pollution 'is single biggest environmental health risk' The Guardian Air pollution has become the world's single biggest environmental health risk, linked to around 7 million – or nearly one in eight deaths in 2012 – according...”
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Plusieurs milliers d’oiseaux marins s’échouent sur le littoral depuis plusieurs jours

Plusieurs milliers d’oiseaux marins s’échouent sur le littoral depuis plusieurs jours | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
Les tempêtes successives semblent avoir fortement affecté les populations hivernantes d'alcidés (Guillemot de Troïl, Pingouin torda et Macareux moine).
[Update] Thousands of seabirds washed up on the coast for several weeks

Successive storms seem to have greatly affected the wintering populations of auks (Puffin, Guillemot, Razorbill) already weakened by lack of food.

With the support of the Agency for Marine Protected AreasLPO informs you and gives you what to do in case of discovery of live or dead birds .

Gordon McGlone's insight:

From Alderney Wildlife Trust:-

Wednesday 26th February the French LPO released figures for the seabird wreck in the Bay of Biscay to south Brittany coast: 21,567 dead, of which 14,455 are puffins, with a further 2,784 birds in care, including 1,086 injured puffins, being rehabilitated. Whilst French beaches were the first to be hit, the Normand-Breton coast and the Channel Islands have also experienced distressing signs of the ‘wreck’ (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-jersey-26193938).

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SOS - Urgent Appeal - Save Our Seabirds : The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales

SOS - Urgent Appeal - Save Our Seabirds : The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
Our seabirds are under threat from funding cuts and severe weather, we urgently need your support.
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Dr Lizzie Wilberforce, Conservation Manager with The Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales, believes the unprecedented combination of threats facing seabirds make them a priority for research.  She said:  “We are recording declines in breeding success of many colonies which we believe to be connected to climate change.  Together with storm impacts and pollution events, we have reason to be very concerned for these iconic species.  We are also seeing significant cuts to the funding that supports seabird research and monitoring, just when we need it most.  Natural Resources Wales has withdrawn funding altogether from one 40 year old programme of monitoring Skomer’s guillemots, led by the University of Sheffield, which generates absolutely critical data.

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Action plan to protect democracy | The Wildlife Trusts

Action plan to protect democracy | The Wildlife Trusts | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
Gordon McGlone's insight:

The Lobbying Bill could significantly damage the ability of environmental groups like Wildlife Trusts to lobby for change unless it is redrafted.

The Bill is opposed by a vast cross-section of UK civil society including the Taypayers’ Alliance, Conservative Home, Oxfam, The Salvation Army, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, The Wildlife Trusts and the Women’s Institute.

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WMN Letters: Badger cull was totally misguided

WMN Letters: Badger cull was totally misguided | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
So, Lord Clifford of Chudleigh believes that farmers have better things to concentrate on than eradicating badgers which is surprising, that it was for their benefit, all across the countryside....
Gordon McGlone's insight:

The badger cull has sparked a public debate over environmental issues and the value of nature.  It is good to see our free press doing its job and publishing both dimensions of a very messy saga.

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Badgers and Vaccination

Badgers and Vaccination | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
Your description
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Badger vaccination is underway already in many parts of with over 20 groups already active in making a positive contribution to controlling bovine TB.  

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Ministers playing politics with floods, says Environment Agency chief

Ministers playing politics with floods, says Environment Agency chief | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
Embattled Chris Smith answers his critics, blaming government for limiting agency's response
Gordon McGlone's insight:

Budget cuts and hard choices - the row between Environment Agency and Government is the first of many as budget cuts collide with politics.  

Its always worth remembering that digging deeper holes is a speciality of politicians.  For every problem there is a simple and obvious answer - and its almost always wrong.

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Future I-SEE Seminars

Future I-SEE Seminars | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it

4 FEBRUARY 2014:  'So how much is a badger really worth?'  -  Dr Gordon McGlone OBE CEnv MCIEEM, Director, Gordon McGlone and Associates Limited 

Gordon McGlone's insight:

I will be considering the question "How much is a badger really worth?" from several perspectives; ecosystem services, cultural affection, agricultural economics and the politics of town versus countryside.

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Badger setts more than double in England in 25 years - Telegraph

Badger setts more than double in England in 25 years - Telegraph | Leading for Nature | Scoop.it
The number of badger setts in England has increased by more than 100 per cent in the last 25 years, a new report found
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