Walking Hand in Hand with Nature

“Nature inspires me. My hope is that my art will serve its purpose, remind us of how the human-nature relationship is supposed to be, beautiful, harmonious, and living side by side. My subjects are often children and animals because they are sincere, unprejudiced and unpretentious. There’s an innate relationship between them.” Indonesian artist Elicia Edijanto

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I find these watercolour paintings profoundly moving. I hope you enjoy them, and that they will continue to touch the hearts of those who see them. The simplicity of colour and detail creates a timeless, tranquil, dreamlike other-world. Is this the Garden of Eden? The kingdom of heaven? The way life was here on Earth before abuse of power, greed, exploitation, cruelty and fear trampled innocence, reverence, trust and love into the dust? Elicia’s art brings to my mind two passages from the Bible, see below.

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The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. Isaiah 11 v 6

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He [Jesus] called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matt 18 vv 2-4

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Elicia depicts the animals with simple reverence, in all their majesty. They are here in their own personhood, with their own standing. They do not seek Man’s permission. They owe us nothing. They are here by right.

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Discover the artist and see more of Elicia’s beautiful work on her website

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Animal Escape Artists – 5 of the Best

Cover pic LiveScience

Bonnie & Clyde, High Park Zoo Toronto,

Futurology Promises More Hopes than Fears for the Animals & the Planet

Futurology says you really can have too many bees!

Even the most indifferent to environmental issues and our native flora and fauna would have to be blind and deaf not to have registered the torrent of bad news about the dramatic and worrying decline in bee population numbers over the last few years.

So how could you possibly have too many bees?

We know of course that bee colonies are trucked all over the USA to pollinate crops as each comes into flower each year.

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But until I came to write this post, I for one was completely unaware that right now millions of bees are being shipped around the globe to work their pollination magic. Here in the UK it seems we import 40,000-50,000 colonies each year. And global bee commerce continues to expand.

This is a problem for at least two reasons:

  • The colonies – provided by a handful of global suppliers – are screened for diseases and parasites, but that screening is not foolproof. And the imported bees hosting pathogens can and do spread their unwanted ‘guests’ to the local populations with disastrous results. “The effects include killing bees outright, or harming their ability to learn, which is crucial in finding food. In Argentina, imported parasites are driving native species to extinction.”¹ As the trade exports the industrious little insects to ever more locations, the danger of harmful effects on native bees and food security increases.
  • As well as putting their local cousins at risk, the imported bees, by pollinating invasive non-native plant species, are likely to accelerate their dispersion with unknowable effects on local biodiversity.

So I guess the problem isn’t exactly having too many bees per se, but too many bees on the move carrying pathogens to all corners of the world. It’s ironic but perturbing that an industry that’s mushroomed in response to an ever-widening pollinator shortage, will likely itself exacerbate the downward trend.

A big conservation problem then. One of five recently identified as global environmental risks by an international team of experts in science communication, research and horizon scanning. Horizon scanning (otherwise known as Futurology or Future Studies) is a collaborative process of assembling all available data in a particular field to identify future trends, both positive and negative.

While in an ideal world the crystal ball would reveal zero future environmental risks, it’s good to know at least that this particular expert team – undertaking their horizon-scanning in the field of species and ecosystems pinpointed just 5 key risks, but twice as many hopeful opportunities. And as I’m keen to make this week a week of hope, I’ll list the remaining 4 risks in brief so we can get on to the good stuff.

1   Sand scarcity I don’t know about you, but this is one possible problem I wouldn’t have imagined. “Sand is used in a diverse range of industries and as the human population increases so does the demand for sand. Impacts of sand mining include loss of species, degradation of habitats and social conflict”.

2  Border fences affecting wild animals The impenetrable wall between the USA and Mexico promised by President Trump would adversely affect desert bighorn sheep, the endangered North American jaguar, the ocelot – now down to the last 50 in southern Texas and the cougar (pictured here).cougar-718092_960_720

In total it’s estimated that 111 endangered species could suffer as a result of Trump’s wall, as well as 108 species of migratory birds.” Sadly the trend is not confined to the USA. The increased use of border fencing in Europe and elsewhere will have similar detrimental effects on the movement, migration and survival of wild animal species.²

3  Changes in waste management affecting wild animals Another trend that wouldn’t spring immediately to mind – closing or covering rubbish dumps. That might sound like a positive, but will be bad news for wildlife scavengers habituated to this ready food supply.

4  Wind speeds at the sea surface are increasing data indicates, and so is the frequency of gales. The effect on seabirds and migrating marine animals is an unknown, but unlikely to be beneficial.

Bad news is always unwelcome I know. But even the bad can have its good side. If it throws the spotlight on to a problem, we can start looking for solutions. Take science’s revelation about the damage to marine life from plastic microbeads. The data that surfaced in 2010 was troubling to say the least, but bringing it to light did bring about quite speedy international action in the form of bans on their use.

Now that’s out the way we can, as promised, get to the good stuff – 10 new conservation opportunities opened up to us by advances in science and technology:

1  A new biological discovery: strains of Symbodinium (unicellular algae) found in coral reefs are resistant to heat and could hopefully be manipulated to protect reefs from the bleaching effect of rising temperatures in the ocean.

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2  An underwater robot called COTSbot has been very successful at controlling the crown-of-thorn starfish responsible for 40% of the damage to the Great Barrier Reef in the last 30 years. Robotics offer the prospect of more environmental wins. Watch COTSbot in action below.

3  The portable 3D-printed electronic ‘dogs’ nose, bizarre as it sounds, works even better than the real thing. It will provide a major new asset for sniffing out illegal wildlife goods, especially at border crossings, and offers the potential to disrupt major black market trade routes. That would be huge.

4  As a result of advances in genetic screening and engineering bacteria and fungi can now be used for biological pest control and growth stimulation treatments, averting the need to use artificial chemicals that harm biodiversity.

5  Ah, we’ve hit a snag. With this one it seems like risks and opportunities might be fairly equally balanced. We’re talking floating wind farms. Right now the biggest in the world is being constructed off the coast of Scotland. Though more efficient in supplying green energy than land-based, and good for fish seeking a refuge, they would be no better than their land-based counterparts at avoiding collateral damage to birds in flight. Plus there’s a chance they could entangle marine mammals.

6  The bionic leaf that makes fuel out of sunlight and water. Forget fitting solar panels to your roof. Just get your bionic leaf and make your own ready-to-use biomass. Watch the video to find out how.

7  Lithium-air batteries. Yet another technology entirely new to me. If produced commercially, these batteries could revolutionise the clean energy industry by enabling electric cars to run on a battery a fifth of the cost and a fifth of the weight of batteries currently on the market. This means you could travel from London to Edinburgh – just over 400 miles – on a single charge. Right now an electric car can only drive between 50 and 80 miles per charge. If you’re interested in the science, click here.

8  Reverse photosynthesis uses the sun’s energy to break down rather than build up plant material. It’s potential? To transform the production of biofuels and plastics and reduce fossil fuel use and carbon emissions.

9  Carbon capture involves dissolving the carbon dioxide in water and injecting it into basalt rock, which is plentiful all around the globe. Once in the rock it undergoes a natural process. The basalts (volcanic rock) react with the gas-in-solution to form carbonate minerals. Hey presto, limestone! In the Iceland Carbfix project it took just two years for the  solution to solidify. Compare that with the hundreds or even thousands of years that was predicted. Only the lack of political will is holding this one back. Grrr.

10  bitcoin-1813507__340Blockchain technologyBy allowing digital information to be distributed but not copied, blockchain technology created the backbone of a new type of internet. Originally devised for the digital currency, Bitcoin, the tech community is now finding other potential uses for the technology.”

In the environmental field, these could be: “establishing a currency market for trading carbon credits, improving supply chain traceability (e.g. for sustainable fish) and tracking illegal wildlife trade.”

Which all goes to prove there are few conservation issues for which science and technology cannot find an answer. Futurology is right to see the almost limitless opportunities they offer.

But it’s not human ingenuity that is ever in question. Humankind’s will to implement preventions and solutions most certainly is, both at political and individual level.

The good news is, we have the power in our hands to act at both levels. In politics we can use our vote for the planet. We can also throw your support behind organisations actively engaged in protecting nature and lobbying governments or challenging them in courts of law.

In the USA for example, we have the altogether wonderful Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club amongst others.

Here in the UK, we can support the Wildlife Trusts. We can be sure they will do all in their power to keep our government in line with the National Ecosystem Asessment. We can also join the Ecosystems Knowledge Network. They greatly value individuals’ input.

On a purely individual level Friends of the Earth has a wealth of ideas and tips for living an eco-friendly life which is well worth exploring.

It is so beyond time to stop ravaging the Earth in the pursuit of our own selfish interests. We are currently pursuing a path that is not only irresponsible and disrespectful, but ultimately self-defeating. The real interests of the human race lie not in the rape and pillage of our precious planet and all the life in it, but in due reverence, regaining a sense of wonder, and careful loving stewardship. We can do it.

After all, there is only one Earth.

“I will not dishonor my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.
I will honor all life,
wherever and in whatever form it may dwell,
on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.”

– Diane Ackerman

Read about last year’s projections here

¹Imported bees pose risk to UK’s wild and honeybee population – The Guardian

²Building Walls – Purr and Roar. Excellent post on this topic I would heartily recommend. Also Border Fences Aimed at Stopping Immigrants are Killing Wildlife – Take Part

 

Source

15 risks and opportunities to global conservation – Fauna & Flora International

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Step into a Miniature World of Animated Paper Wildlife

This is mesmerising. Pure magic.


"We are all connected"

I recommend multiple viewings to appreciate the incredible detail and get the full benefit.

Paper predators and prey spring to life in this visually stunning short from directors Dávid Ringeisen & László Ruska. An ordinary desk and typical office supplies are the backdrop for this micro-universe that carries the macro-message of wildlife conservation. While humans are left out of the piece, their impact is still present in a discarded cigarette butt that sparks an imaginary forest fire and an overflowing wastebasket that pollutes a fantastical rolling-chair river. This piece is part of the filmmakers’ MOME thesis project, the animation department at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest, Hungary and was created for WWF Hungary.

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the web and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic’s belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.

Source

National Geographic

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Ollie the Bobcat Breaks Out of Jail

Do you remember Flaviu, the beautiful lynx who within hours of being sent to Dartmoor Zoo broke out of his enclosure and eluded capture for three weeks?

Well, it seems that the USA had its own jailbreaker this week in the form of Ollie, a wild-born female bobcat that the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington DC claims for its own.

The American bobcat is a close relative of the Eurasian lynx – think cousin – and every bit as solitary and elusive. Ollie broke out on Monday (31st Jan) and zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson feared, “it will be very very difficult to find her.”

But on Wednesday fortune smiled on the zoo. Unhappily for the runaway, hunger drove her into a trap baited with treats inside the zoo’s bird house. Looking on the brighter side, Ollie’s capture might well have been a lucky escape for the birds, since bobcats have an acrobatic ability to leap from the ground and catch flying birds in the air.

Zoo vets assure us that she is none the worse for her little adventure, apart from a small cut on her left front paw.

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One thing is sure, if her breakout had been successful this lady would not have gone hungry. Bobcats are remarkably agile and fast and are silent and patient stalkers of rabbits, hares, mice and squirrels – even small deer.

Like most cats, bobcats are beautiful creatures, an attribute that cost them dear in the first half of last century. The wild population was almost wiped out by fur trappers. Now I’m glad to say they are protected by the Endangered Species Act, and are bouncing back.

What can I say about Ollie? I so hoped she would never be caught and locked up again. I hoped that for the rest of her life this lady would run free .

Help captive animals by never visiting zoos and aquariums

For more facts and figures about the beautiful bobcat click here

Sign Born Free Foundation petitions  here

Support the work of the Captive Animals Protection Society here

Source

Ollie the jailbreaking bobcat on the lam from National Zoo – TreeHugger

Ollie the bobcat found safe at National Zoo – Fox

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Wildlife Conservation Society’s favourite pictures of 2016

Cover pic Amazonian royal flycatcher by Rob Wallace

Just in case you missed these.  (Click any image to go to the big beautiful originals)

Thanks to Garry Rogers for sharing these wonders.

Source: https://garryrogers.com/2016/12/21/wildlife-photos/

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Who is the Real Hallowe’en Monster Lurking in the Woods?

Forget spiders, black cats and bats. The scariest thing in nature?

We are.

Fear is natural. Fear is good. In the wild, fear keeps animals alive. It sounds strange, but it’s actually fear that keeps ecosystems in balance.

It’s the ‘trophic cascade effect’. Take an apex predator like the wolf, at the top of the food chain. The wolf’s presence keeps deer ‘on their toes’. Instead of standing in one spot grazing vegetation down to the ground, they are wary, stopping only briefly, constantly on the move. So plant life proliferates and in doing so provides habitat and food for the smaller animals.

To find out how astounding this is in bringing about an explosion of life, both plant and animal, watch this beautiful short video about wolves in Yellowstone. It will gladden your heart.

So that’s the good news. The bad news is that a horrifying 75% of apex predators, the large carnivores such as wolves, bears and big cats, are in decline. And as the Living Planet Report tells us, it is all down to us humans. We are driving plants and animals extinct at 1,000 times the natural background rate.

But take away the apex predators, and biodiversity rapidly declines.

Western University decided to test whether we humans could take the place of the missing big beasts as ‘the monster-in-the-woods’, and provide that vital fear factor to keep ecosystems healthy.

Their findings were not good. For a start, human hunters kill four times as many smaller carnivores as do the nonhuman predators. That in itself throws the ecosystem out of kilter.

And, it turned out that we are just too darn scary. So frightening, in fact, as to induce “paralysing terror” in the badgers tested on in the research. Having the sounds of large carnivores played to them naturally did put the badgers on their guard, and they made fewer trips to their usual foraging spots. But when the sound of people talking was played, only a handful of the bravest ventured out at all, and the time they spent feeding was dramatically reduced. Most of the badgers decided the safest option was to keep their heads down, stay at home and not go out to feed at all.

So to the smaller animals, we are more to be feared than wolves and bears. Some kudos!  We humans, the scariest creature on the planet.

We are not just messing up ecosystems by causing the decline in apex predator populations. It seems we are directly affecting the behaviour of the remaining animals in those habitats. The researchers concluded that “Humans may be distorting ecosystem processes even more than previously imagined.”

When you consider that at least 83 percent of the Earth’s land surface is directly affected by the presence of humans and human activity in one way or another, this research is incredibly bad news for the remaining 17% that’s left for the animals.

Controlling the growth of the human population is going to be vital in reducing our impact, it goes without saying. But if we as individuals want to help give our fellow earth-dwellers, the nonhumans, a bit more space to live than that pitiful 17%, if we want them to survive at all, we can make a difference by taking animal products off our plate, and out of our lives. We must.

Wishing you a ton of fun this Hallowe’en – dress up, spook your neighbours!

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And then November 1st – time for us to make Planet Earth a whole lot less scary for the animals. November is World Vegan Month, the perfect time for us humans to start reducing our heavy footprint on the planet.

To make space for the animals.

Cute & Creepy Animal-Friendly Hallowe’en Recipes here

Help to Go Vegan here

Source

The Real Monster in the Woods – The Medium

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14 Reasons Not To Visit Zoos – In Pictures

“These tragic pictures left me speechless. Please look into the eyes of all the animals. They tell their own story more poignantly than any words of mine. And the message they give is simple. Help us. End this.”

Virginia McKenna

Haunting pictures of animals trapped behind bars in Europe’s zoos have been captured by international wildlife charity, the Born Free Foundation. The powerful exhibition was launched by the organisation to highlight, what they see as, the poor standards of animal care at many zoos in the European Union.

Keith Taylor, MEP and the Green Party’s animals spokesperson, said the images show the “urgent need” to improve conditions and regulatory enforcement, both in the UK and in the rest of the EU.

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Born Free Foundation – JoAnne McArthur

Elephant in Slovenian zoo

Taylor said: “The EU has been a positive force for so many animal welfare improvements in Britain and across Europe.

“It was the EU that first recognised animals as sentient beings and, consequently, introduced a blanket ban on cosmetic animal testing and the sale of animal-tested cosmetics, ended the use of great apes in research, improved welfare standards for farm animals, strengthened protections for rare and endangered species, cracked down on the illegal ivory trade, banned cat and dog fur imports, and stopped the gruesome trade in seal products. However, more must be done by the European Union to enforce the relevant EU laws and improve the lives of animals kept in zoos.

The photos were taken by award-winning international photographers, Britta Jaschinski and Jo-Anne McArthur who visited several EU countries, including Italy, France, Germany, Denmark and the UK, this summer to document the conditions some animals are forced to live in.

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Born Free Foundation – JoAnne McArthur

Marmoset in Danish zoo

Virginia McKenna OBE, co-founder and trustee of Born Free, said: “I should be used to looking at captive wild animals, having done so for over 45 years, but these tragic pictures left me speechless. Please look into the eyes of the macaque, the bear – well, look at all the animals. They tell their own story more poignantly than any words of mine. And the message they give is simple. Help us. End this.”

Zoos are required under a European Council directive to satisfy animals’ biological requirements by providing species-specific enrichment and a high standard of husbandry. Born Free said it aims to show, through these photos, that “many zoos keep animals in sub-standard conditions and EU zoos are therefore not fulfilling their legal requirements”.

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Born Free Foundation – Britta Jaschinski

Barbary macaque in a UK zoo

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Born Free Foundation – Britta Jaschinski

 Chimpanzees in an Italian zoo

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Born Free Foundation – JoAnne McArthur

 Polar bear in a Latvian zoo

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Born Free Foundation – JoAnne McArthur

Dolphin in a Lithuanian zoo

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Born Free Foundation – JoAnne McArthur

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Born Free Foundation – JoAnne McArthur
 Bear in a Croatian EU zoo
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Born Free Foundation – JoAnne McArthur
Lion in a German zoo
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Born Free Foundation – Britta Jaschinski
Owl in a Maltese zoo
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Born Free Foundation – JoAnne McArthur
Meerkats in an Estonian zoo
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Born Free Foundation -JoAnne McArthur
Bear in a German Zoo
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Born Free Foundation – JoAnne McArthurTiger in a French zoo

Tiger in a French zoo

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Born Free Foundation – Britta Jaschinsk

Giraffe in a UK zoo

Part of Born Free Foundations Animals in European Zoos A Photo Exhibition

These pictures come at as a debate about zoos continues to divide opinion. Last week a Silverback male gorilla escaped from his enclosure from London Zoo. Fortunately, the animal was recaptured without any injuries, but this is not always the case.

Earlier this year Cincinnati Zoo was the focus of public outrage after Harambe, a critically endangered gorilla was shot dead after a child was able to enter his enclosure.

Daniel Turner, associate director for European Compliance at Born Free, said he hopes the collection will help to influence a “greater commitment to improving standards in animal welfare in Europe’s zoos”.

Copied from the article in The Huffington Post – Born Free Foundation’s Animals in European Zoos Exhibition

Personally, I hope these harrowing images will open people’s eyes to see that wild animals do NOT belong in captivity. I should say, open people’s hearts – to feel the loneliness, deprivation and suffering we have inflicted on these innocent creatures, and resolve NEVER to visit or take their children to a zoo.

Grateful acknowledgements to AwarenessHelps for bringing this important and remarkable exhibition to our attention.

JoAnne’s video about her new book “Captive”

Article in One Green Planet about JoAnne and “Captive” here
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UK Rewilding the Beautiful Lynx

Forget the fictional Hound of the Baskervilles, Dartmoor now has a real beast of prey on the loose. The legendary hound was diabolical and terrifying, but people have nothing to fear from Flaviu the lynx, though there is much for him to fear from them.

When we animal advocates heard the news that Dartmoor Zoo’s newly acquired lynx had succeeded in a daring break-out-of-jail within hours of arriving at his new ‘home’, we were cheering him on, and mentally casting black spells over efforts to bring him back to captivity. Even zoo owner Ben Mee admitted he would secretly be “really proud” if Flaviu disappeared and made a new life for himself.

That was exactly two weeks ago and Flaviu is still living in the wild. So far police, zoo workers and volunteers, using helicopters, drones, baited traps, recordings of his mother’s call and even her bedding, have all been foiled by the clever big cat.

But now events have taken a worrying turn. The Mirror reports fears that gun-toting hunters are trying to track and kill the lynx, just to get a selfie trophy photo. Post-Cecil, you wouldn’t think anyone could be that heartless and stupid, but if this is the case I really hope the zoo finds him first.

Latest news: the zoo is appealing for donations. They need £5K for more motion sensor cameras to monitor trails and locations Flaviu is thought to be frequenting.

Not so long before Flaviu hit the headlines, I happened to hear on the radio that there were plans to reintroduce lynx to the wild here in the UK. Until then I didn’t even know the lynx is actually indigenous to the UK – though to be fair they have been extinct here since about 700 AD. In fact the animal was forced out of most of Western Europe by a combination of habitat loss and human persecution. The usual story.

Like all big cats, the lynx would win any beauty contest paws down. In the wild it can live up to the age of 10 years, and size-wise it’s roughly the same as a labrador dog. It’s tree-climbing ability, up and down definitely needs no assistance from the Fire Brigade! Because its favoured habitat is dense forest, because it emerges to hunt only at dawn and dusk, and because of its legendary elusive nature – perfectly illustrated by Flaviu – it earned the name in ancient cultures around the world as the mysterious ‘Keeper of Secrets’.

The Lynx UK Trust hopes to unveil the proposed site for a pilot release of the cat as soon as next month. Forests in Aberdeenshire and Northumberland are on the shortlist. ‘That’s when it gets really exciting,’ says Chief Scientific Advisor to the Trust Dr Paul O’Donoghue.

But why is this being done? Why rewild an animal, even one as iconic as this, that hasn’t been around in this country for thirteen centuries?

lynx-591789__180Now we’re talking apex predators and trophic cascades. In a nutshell, the lynx’s preferred prey is deer. Because deer have no natural predators to control their numbers here in the UK, they tend to be quite relaxed, and lounge around lazily in one place until it is stripped bare of vegetation. And why wouldn’t they? Why keep moving if the food is right there? But unfortunately that is destroying our wild places and forests.

Enter the lynx, and two things happen: firstly the lynx controls the deer population naturally without human intervention, and keeps herds healthier by taking out the sick and old. Secondly, the deer have to be more on guard and keep moving around from one feeding spot to another. “Suddenly, they’re pruning shears again, lightly cutting back the forest at a rate it can recover and sustain itself, all that green stuff starts to return, as do all the other animals that like to live amongst it, it’s called a “trophic cascade”, an event kicked off by the apex species at the top of an ecosystem, that cascades all the way down through it affecting every other form of life.”

This beautiful short video about the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone narrated by George Monbiot, a true hero for the environment, explains an apex predator’s hugely beneficial effect on an entire ecosystem. Wonderfully exciting stuff!

If this is what we can hope for with the reintroduction of the lynx, bring it on. It can’t happen soon enough.

Inevitably, not everyone sees it this way. “Depending on who you ask, the Eurasian lynx is either a benign woodland wonder or a sheep-stalking terror.” The Guardian. Objectors are as you would suspect, farmers who fear lynx will take their sheep. (Actually sheep, along with the deer, are the main culprits in reducing our forest cover to only one third of the EU average.) The Lynx UK Trust says that research proves farmers’ fears groundless. While a lynx will indeed take a sheep or a lamb occasionally, they expect each cat’s tally to be just one sheep every two and a half years – for which farmers will be compensated.

In fact, the lynx may prove of benefit to sheep farmers by keeping down the population of lamb-predating foxes, as has happened in Switzerland.

So there will be no damage done to the local economy by the presence of lynx. Quite the reverse. The expectation is that the cats will generate “new eco-friendly industries such as wildlife tourism around their presence, breathing new economic life into remote rural communities.”

In any case the effects of reintroduction, beneficial or otherwise, will be small to begin with, since the Trust’s five-year pilot is for the release of just three male and three female animals. As the six will all be of breeding age, with a bit of luck we will soon have many more of these beautiful creatures in our wild places.

“We killed every single last lynx 1,300 years ago and hunted them purely for their pelts. We have a moral and ethical duty to bring them back. They are as much a part of the natural environment as ospreys and red squirrels,” says Dr Paul.

Wolves next? We live in hope.

A little prayer for Flaviu – Stay safe boy, stay safe.

Vote in Focusing on Wildlife Poll: Should the lynx be rewilded in the UK?

Like the Lynx UK Trust Facebook page & Follow on Twitter 

Sign here to support rewilding the lynx – petition to Natural England & Scottish Natural Heritage

Update

3rd February 2017 The Guardian reports on deep splits in local community over planned re-introduction in Kielder Forest, Northumbria

Sources

Lynx UK Trust

The Mirror

Geographical

International Business Times

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Endangered Species Mural Project in USA + Petitions

Only last month we saw the launch of Endangered 13 here in the UK – ‘A Mural Project Raising Awareness of Endangered Species’. It looks like America got there ahead of us once again!

Art takes nature as its model. ~ Aristotle

If nature inspires art, maybe art can inspire people to protect nature. That’s the hope of the Centre for Biological Diversity, and that’s why they’re teaming up with local artists to bring endangered wildlife on to city streets all over the USA in art.

Each mural will feature wildlife species special, if not unique, to the region. And the CBD is actively fighting for the survival of each and every one. So far, seven are completed.

“The goal of this project is fostering connections between people and the other forms of life that surround them”

In Los Angeles, the yellow-billed cuckoo features, a rare song bird that migrates between North and South America. The mural, called We Always Had Wings, was painted by 15 migrant female students under the guidance of artist Jess X Chen. You can see their self-portraits under the birds outspread wings.

wealwayshadwings_1250The mountain caribou in Sandpoint, Idaho – its last remaining territory. This mural is huge. People standing next to it barely come up to the caribou’s knee.

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The Arctic grayling’s gorgeous colours in Butte, Montana.

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 In Minneapolis, Minnesota, the famous migrating monarch butterfly once forming dense clouds and turning forests orange, now dangerously threatened by habitat loss, climate change and pesticides. Take Action here

MonarchMuralByRogerPeet

The watercress darter in Birmingham, Alabama, the only place where it is to be found. The mural 5 metres  x 10 metres depicts this little fish which is just a few centimetres long.

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The Blue Whale – LA again. The Blue Whale is the largest creature ever to have lived on earth. Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant, their hearts as much as a car.

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And the very latest, unveiled on May 19th in Tucson, Arizona, featuring the famous resident jaguar, El Jefe, The Chief. El Jefe is thought to be the last wild jaguar in America.

jaguarmural

Such a beautiful cat, and yet the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is willing to let a foreign mining company blast a giant crater right in El Jefe’s home. Send USFWS a message right here if you think that’s wrong Click here and here

There are more to come: the pink bucket mussel and the Ozark hellbender – with names like that we should expect something spectacular! The Colorado river fish, and the bull trout of Oregon. With additional funds the Centre for Biological Diversity could extend the project to cover more species in more locations in the States.

A Message From the Artist 

“Everywhere on Earth is unique, with qualities that distinguish it from other places both near and far. One of those qualities is the biodiversity of a place — the plants and animals that call it home and may not be found anywhere else. Those species embody an area’s natural history and contribute to what makes it irreplaceable. They also have something to say about the future, as many are in danger of going extinct. And when we lose species, the places and lives we live become poorer and shallower places as a result. To help bring these species into the light, we decided to paint them on the walls.

“The goal of this project is to create murals in towns and cities around the United States that focus on endangered species, fostering connections between people and the other forms of life that surround them. Whether that’s a fish in a river, a butterfly flitting from plant to plant, or a caribou chewing lichen off a tree trunk, we’re bringing together artists and communities to create big, bold images that will become part of the neighborhoods where they’re created, making it a little easier for people to care about the native species struggling to survive in their midst.” 

Roger Peet is a Portland-based artist who is coordinating this project in association with the Center for Biological Diversity.

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The Endangered Species Mural Project

Updates

October 2016 El Jefe features on the cover of, and in an article in the Smithsonian Magazine

10th December 2016 El Jefe has company – another young male jaguar

7th March 2017 A third jaguar joins El Jefe and friend

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