Patrick Barkham
Patrick Barkham
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EU to ban use of lead shot by wetland bird hunters

EU to ban use of lead shot by wetland bird hunters

Lead shot is to be banned from all wetlands in the European Union, in a decision that is expected to pave the way for phasing out all toxic ammunition.The European parliament voted against objections lodged by far-right parties, allowing the European commission to introduce the new regulations by the end of the year.The ban will ensure that any wildfowl or waterbirds are shot with non-toxic steel ammunition after scientific studies found that each year. Millions more wild birds, including raptors, are poisoned but do not die, with 40% of whooper swans found to have elevated blood lead...

theguardian.com
Patrick Barkham
4d ago
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Bird flu fears grow after spate of mysterious UK swan deaths

Bird flu fears grow after spate of mysterious UK swan deaths

Virus causing ‘high levels of mortality’ in birds, with risk to chickens and other poultry Fri 27 Nov 2020 04.47 ESTLast modified on Fri 27 Nov 2020 10.51 ESTA spate of baffling swan deaths is strongly suspected to be caused by a virulent new strain of avian flu sweeping across Britain.Dying swans were found spinning in circles and discharging blood from their nostrils on Ulverston canal, Cumbria. Swan rescuers have taken in more than 25 dying birds in Worcestershire and nine swans were found dead in Stanley Park, Blackpool. Postmortem examinations have confirmed that six black swans and...

theguardian.com
Patrick Barkham
3d ago
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Chinese flower has evolved to be less visible to pickers

Chinese flower has evolved to be less visible to pickers

Fritillaria delavayi, used in traditional medicine, turning grey to blend into rocks Fri 20 Nov 2020 11.00 ESTLast modified on Fri 20 Nov 2020 16.12 ESTFor thousands of years, the dainty Fritillaria delavayi has grown slowly on the rocky slopes of the Hengduan mountains in , producing a bright green flower after its fifth year.But the conspicuous small plant has one deadly enemy: people, who harvest the flower for traditional Chinese medicine.As commercial harvesting has intensified, Fritillaria delavayi has vanished – by rapidly evolving to produce grey and brown leaves and flowers that...

theguardian.com
Patrick Barkham
Nov 20
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Study finds ticks choose humans over dogs when temperature rises

Study finds ticks choose humans over dogs when temperature rises

Confining a young researcher in one box and a dog in another and unleashing blood-sucking ticks to scamper between the boxes sounds like a stunt from I’m A Celebrity.But the stomach-churning scientific experiment has revealed that ticks carrying the deadly Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) disease are more than twice as likely to shift their feeding preference from dogs to humans when temperatures rise.The study, presented at the annual meeting of the (ASTMH), observed whether the ticks, which use smell to seek out a host upon whose blood to feed, scuttled along a plastic tube towards the...

theguardian.com
Patrick Barkham
Nov 16
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2020 likely to be one of warmest years on record despite La Niña

2020 likely to be one of warmest years on record despite La Niña

is under way, heralding a colder and stormier winter than usual across the northern hemisphere, but 2020 remains likely to be one of the warmest years on record.The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has declared event – a cooling of surface ocean water along the Pacific coast of the South American tropics – to help governments and humanitarian agencies plan for extreme weather events around the world.La Niña (the little girl in Spanish) is the “cold” phase of , a series of oceanic and climatic events in the Pacific which exert a global influence on temperature, storms and...

theguardian.com
Patrick Barkham
Oct 29
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Decoy turtle eggs put in nests to track illegal trade in Costa Rica

Decoy turtle eggs put in nests to track illegal trade in Costa Rica

Quarter of fakes were stolen with some eggs tracked from thief to trafficker to consumer Mon 5 Oct 2020 11.00 EDTLast modified on Mon 5 Oct 2020 11.02 EDTDecoy eggs made by a 3D-printer and fitted with satellite tags have been placed in sea turtle nests on beaches in to track the illegal trade of their eggs.A quarter of the fake eggs put among 101 turtle nests on four beaches in Costa Rica were stolen, with some eggs successfully tracked as they moved from thief to trafficker to consumer.The egg decoy, dubbed the InvestEggator, was developed by the conservation organisation to track the...

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Patrick Barkham
Oct 5
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Scientists use satellite tags to reveal white storks' migratory habits

Scientists use satellite tags to reveal white storks' migratory habits

Marge, a white stork released onto a rewilded farm in West Sussex, is shedding light on the birds’ unpredictable migratory habits by flying to Morocco for her first winter and spending the summer in Spain.Scientists are using satellite tags to track white storks released onto the to learn what migratory habits the captive-bred birds will develop.When the project began, sceptics claimed that captive-bred storks would not migrate but the birds released at quickly crossed the channel at Dover.Data from the , which aims to establish them as , reveals that many of the birds spent their first...

theguardian.com
Patrick Barkham
Oct 1
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Record low number of British butterflies baffles scientists

Record low number of British butterflies baffles scientists

Despite a warm and sunny British summer, fewer butterflies than ever were recorded in each count by the biggest butterfly survey in the world.Record numbers of people took part in the in July and August, with nearly 150,000 15-minute counts of butterflies taking place in parks, gardens, woods and nature reserves across the country.But the survey reported the lowest average number of butterflies per count – 10.66 – since recording began in 2010.“Unfortunately, this summer has not seen an abundance of butterflies across the UK,” said Dr Zoë Randle, the senior surveys officer at Butterfly...

theguardian.com
Patrick Barkham
Sep 28
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Large blue butterfly flutters in Cotswolds for first time in 150 years

Large blue butterfly flutters in Cotswolds for first time in 150 years

The biggest reintroduction to date of the large blue has led to the rare butterfly flying on a Cotswold hillside where it has not been seen for 150 years.About 750 butterflies emerged on to in Gloucestershire this summer after 1,100 larvae were released last autumn following five years of innovative grassland management to create optimum habitat.The globally endangered butterfly now , four decades after it became extinct in the country.Its return to Britain is arguably the most successful insect reintroduction project worldwide, after caterpillars were initially brought from Sweden in an...

theguardian.com
Patrick Barkham
Aug 13
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Beavers cut flooding and pollution and boost wildlife populations

Beavers cut flooding and pollution and boost wildlife populations

Beavers have alleviated flooding, reduced pollution and boosted populations of fish, amphibians and other wildlife, according to a five-year study of wild-living animals in ., which will help the government decide whether to allow wild beavers to return to England after being hunted to extinction more than 400 years ago, concludes that the species has brought measurable benefits to wildlife and people.The study, by a team of scientists overseen by Prof Richard Brazier of the , concludes that beavers’ quantifiable benefits on the River Otter, including eco-tourism and “ecosystem services”...

theguardian.com
Patrick Barkham
Feb 17
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Alarm over deaths of bees from rapidly spreading viral disease

Alarm over deaths of bees from rapidly spreading viral disease

A viral disease that causes honey bees to suffer severe trembling, flightlessness and death within a week is spreading exponentially in Britain.Chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV) was only recorded in Lincolnshire in 2007. A decade later, it was found in 39 of 47 English counties and six of eight Welsh counties, according to data collected from visits to more than 24,000 beekeepers.As well as struggling to fly, the afflicted bees develop shiny, hairless abdomens. Piles of dead individuals are found outside hives with whole colonies frequently wiped out by the disease.A team of scientists led...

theguardian.com
Patrick Barkham
May 1
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First wild stork chicks to hatch in UK in centuries poised to emerge

First wild stork chicks to hatch in UK in centuries poised to emerge

The first wild stork chicks to hatch in Britain for centuries are expected to emerge next month after three pairs of the huge white birds built nests in West Sussex.Disdaining platforms constructed especially for them, the storks have created their stick nests in the heights of oak trees on the Knepp estate, the centre for project.White storks are traditionally thought to bring fertility and good luck but have been extinct as breeding birds in Britain since 1416, or possibly during the English civil war.More than 100 birds have been bred in captivity and released at three locations in West...

theguardian.com
Patrick Barkham
Apr 26
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Can planting billions of trees save the planet?

Can planting billions of trees save the planet?

When Clare Dubois’s car skidded on an icy road in Stroud, Gloucestershire, a tree prevented her vehicle tumbling into a ravine. It was, she says, a sign. Humanity is nearing a precipice. Trees can stop us going over the edge. This calling was so strong that Dubois, a business life coach, founded TreeSisters with a friend, Bernadette Ryder, to take on a daunting mission: to reforest the tropics within a decade. In 2014, their new charity funded its first 12,000 trees by encouraging western women to make small monthly donations to reforestation projects in the tropics. Today TreeSisters is...

theguardian.com
Patrick Barkham
Aug 3
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