Hello and welcome to my latest blog, sorry it has taken so long to update but university specifically the large amount of coursework has made time extremely limited, the joys of the final year ! I hope you have all been well in the meantime and have been enjoying the wildlife all around us. This issue may not be the most cheery one I've ever written but it underlies some key concerns where action must be taken before the damage done is irreversible. This issue also features an article written concerning the legalisation of hunting a small number of Black Rhino every year. You can read my opinion on this below. As always I hope you enjoy my blog and feel free to give feedback.
The legalisation of Black Rhino trophy hunting in Namibia.
First things first, having read the article along with some more reading Namibia clearly has a fantastic conservation record, however the legalisation of Black Rhino trophy hunting is something which does not rest easily with me. I really fail to believe that the people paying thousands of pounds to hunt these animals have any concern over the conservation of the species. If this were to be the case would it not instead be a better to put the money directly into Rhino conservation instead of putting a bullet into a Rhino? I also am not to keen on the argument that only older individuals of a species would be hunted I'm not sure we would like it if once we were surplus to requirements for continuing the existence of our own species, own lives were wiped out.
"Trophy hunting nearly worthless"
And the article see below reports that both wildlife viewing and photographic safaris offer more to conservation and economy in Africa than trophy hunting. I'm clearly bias against the "sport" but with images like the one in the aforementioned article (see below) it's not hard to see why, there is no respect for the animal and in my opinion no interest in conservation.
Time to give our raptors the protection they deserve as English Hen Harrier decline hits new low.
Historically raptors in Britain have been the victims of persecution to the point that by the end of the nineteenth century many species had nearly become extinct. The White Tailed Sea Eagle was one species which did disappearing from the British Isles in 1916. The use of pesticides such as DDT also had serious implications for predators such as the Peregrine Falcon in particular before the ban on them in the nineteen eighties contributed largely to an increase in many species. While many threats still exist such as rodenticides in the food chain, traffic collisions and habitat loss many species are at least far more stable in Britain than previous decades. One main problem has never really gone away however and that is the illegal persecution of some raptors species over concerns by gamekeepers and farmers over game animals and livestock. Golden Eagles and Red Kites are to immediate examples of species which in some areas of Scotland and Wales continue to face serious persecution. Nothing compares however to the plight of the English Hen Harrier, with no chicks raised in 2013 and only two pairs even attempting to breed, a six year decline continues to get worse and worse. The ill feeling, mistrust and persecution from hunters and game keepers of Red Grouse towards the Hen Harrier have largely lead to this situation. In the past few years several ideas have been discussed as a compromise including supplementary feeding and a ceiling effect on populations where individuals are then trans located to other areas but these seem to have achieved little progress hence the desperate situation now facing Hen Harriers in England. I love the quote from Simon Barnes "If we want to celebrate their ferocity, we must also celebrate their fragility" in reference to the struggle for survival which faces a bird of prey. In Britain we have already seen what can be achieved when the right measures are put in place, the successful reintroduction of the White Tailed Sea Eagle being a main example however in the case of the Hen Harrier in England, a rabbit must be pulled out the hat to protect the remaining population because the way things are going, unless dramatic measures are put in place right now, a miracle may be this formidable predators only hope of clinging on to its existence in England.
When will we learn if ever? The curse of human laziness and plastic waste.
Recently a sobering thought provoking article about the devastating effects plastic waste is having on Whale species with individuals washed up with obscene amounts of plastic in their systems. We as a species supposedly capable of high intelligence cannot or more likely will not accept and take responsibility for the damage we are doing to marine ecosystems. Turtles also the victims of plastic carrier bags in most cases mistaking them for Jellyfish have suffered global declines in populations follow the link below for an image from a turtles point of view.
From a Turtles point of view.
Link to Whale stranding story.
And some good news to finish
After hearing so much negative news recently how nice to hear that huge steps have been taken to protect the fragile remaining population of wild Snow Leopards. Ministers from the governments of :
Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan all signed a declaration which meant they agreed to not only intensify their conservation efforts but also take strong action against the poaching and illegal trade of Snow Leopards. This decision took place during the Global Snow Leopard Conservation Forum, in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic.
Well that is just about it for now, I hope you enjoyed the issue as always, thanks for reading all the best, George.