H a b i t a t - the sea, the land and the life          
Wildlife and environment news from the British Isles - books too!



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Record year for stranded whales
It's been a record twelve months for strandings of dolphins and whales along the coastlines around Ireland.
No action over 'Facebook sale' of Norfolk whale teeth
A youth is unlikely to face prosecution over claims the teeth and jaw of a dead whale found in Norfolk were offered for sale on Facebook, police have said.
Mystery surrounds oil-soaked birds found along coastline
Mystery surrounds the discovery of oil-soaked birds found washed ashore on the Western Isles.
Badger baiting has been outlawed since 1835 – so why is it making a comeback?
It was a crisp midwinter Sunday when the screaming started on Paradise Farm.
Professor explores slime moulds of Cheshire
Spread across the North West’s rich and varied countryside is one of the most diverse kingdoms of life – but, despite many people having seen these strangely beautiful organisms, little is widely known about the fascinating life forms called slime moulds.
Birds’ egg collector set for landmark legal victory
A collector guilty of possessing rare birds eggs is set to clear his name in a landmark High Court victory.
Young Volunteers show team spirit to save rare black grouse
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s ‘Woodlands for Black Grouse’ Project has enjoyed enthusiastic support from young volunteers at the start of the tree planting season.
Climate change in Scotland ‘to kill the curlew’
An iconic bird linked to Scotland’s wild moors will struggle to survive the impacts of climate change, new research suggests.
Scottish wildcats 'not wild' about snow
Scientists suspect Scottish wildcats may have trouble crossing deep snow, as camera traps captured no images of the animals after heavy snowfalls.
Noss Head mussels helped make marine survey a success
The largest Horse Mussel bed in Scotland, found in waters near Caithness, was just one of many discoveries made during a massive marine survey earlier this year.
Why county’s hen harriers teeter on brink of extinction
The deep midwinter was traditionally the key time of the year for the determined birder to be rewarded with a fluttering glimpse of one of our most majestic predators.
Thousands of geese culled in city parks
More than 11,000 Canada Geese have been culled by a council in the past two years.
Record year for the IWDG recording schemes
The last year has proved to be a record year for cetacean recording by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.
Woodland warriors!
Thousands of grey squirrels are being killed by nature lovers to increase the numbers of rare native reds.
British Isles
Farmland near Thorney
RSPB and farmers launch new
landscape-scale conservation project
An ambitious new landscape-scale conservation project aimed at tailor-managing arable farmland across a large area is being launched today (3 January 2012) at the Oxford Farming Conference.
Grant to prevent river flooding in Somerset
A grant of £24,000 has been made to a flood management group to deal with river water levels in Somerset.
RSPB volunteers set a new record as they hit a million hours for nature
Despite recent government figures showing the number of people volunteering formally at least once a year had fallen to its lowest level for 10 years, the RSPB is today announcing its best-ever year having reached the one million hours mark for the same period.
Bicester 'eco-town' battle looming in 2012
For the company behind plans to build a 5,000-home "eco-town" in Oxfordshire, 2012 is likely to be a key year.
Third chance to transform countryside
People in the Totternhoe and surrounding area now have a third opportunity to look at plans to transform a nearby area of countryside following a successful project launch.
Providence offered Rathlin licence
Oil and gas exploration firm Providence Resources said its UK subsidiary has been offered an exploration licence off the coast of Northern Ireland.
Search for new science institutions
The Government is searching for new institutions to boost research in the UK, the science minister has said.
University axes 'unique' degree course option
Plans by the University of Birmingham have been criticised for cutting one of the only courses in its kind in the UK.
Minister rounds on ‘environmental Taliban’
Britain’s climate change minister has rounded on the “environmental Taliban” of green campaigners, insisting they are wrong to accuse the government of abandoning its commitment to an ambitious low carbon agenda.
Scotland looks to build on a record year for renewable energy
Scotland's Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has called on the renewable energy industry to build on the successes of 2011.
Renewable energy boosts UK economy by £2.5bn
Figures from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that companies have announced plans for almost £2.5 billion worth of renewable energy investment in the UK, with the potential to create almost 12,000 jobs, so far in the financial year 2011/12.
‘Lost world’ of yeti crabs and albino octopus discovered
A “lost world” of previously unknown species is thriving in a deep-sea hotspot near Antarctica, scientists have discovered.
Sea Shepherd finds whalers
Anti-whaling activists have found the Japanese whaling fleet in Antarctic waters due south of Hobart after a pursuit across the ocean.
Northern quoll threatened by cane toads
There has been an alarming drop in numbers of the northern quoll with the arrival of the cane toad in its habitat.
BirdLife Pacific Invasive Species Programme
The BirdLife Pacific Partnership has started a new four-year European Union funded regional Invasive Species programme which seeks to reduce the spread and the environmental and socio-economic impact of invasive alien species ...
US and European dominance in farming under threat
The dominance of the US and Europe in global food and farming is under threat from their lack of natural resources and the rising power of China, Russia and Brazil, finds a major report published on Wednesday.
Turkey’s conservation crisis: global biodiversity hotspots under threat
For me, 2011 started with a great post by David Braun, so I will thank him by ending the year with my first National Geographic piece, about my country Turkey (Türkiye).
Nanded takes lead in saving feathered friends
Nanded may be a little known town in Marathwada but is setting an ideal for other cities because of its massive drive to save birds.
Fish catches from Lake Tanganyika going down
Fishing for a living in Lake Tanganyika has become a gamble, due to the escalating effects of climate change, pollution and unfriendly fishing gear which have reduced catches from the World’s second deepest lake.
Chile’s flora and fauna threatened by Patagonia fire
With nearly 33,000 acres of the Torres Del Paine National Park succumbing to recent forest fires, drastic changes to the region’s biodiversity are inevitable.
Fox could be on endangered list
There may be as little as 20 Sierra Nevada Red Foxes left in the mountain ranges of the Sierra and South Cascades, or as many as fifty.
NHM entomologist co-authors new research on parasitic phorid fly, a new threat to honey bees
A paper to be published on January 3, 2012 in the authoritative magazine PLoS ONE, co-authored by NHM entomologist Dr. Brian Brown, reveals a new threat to honey bees and perhaps, a partial explanation for the bees' well-publicized Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a syndrome characterized by worker bees abandoning their hive.
The contribution of trees to our lives: it is time to take stock
Give me a tree and I'll save the world – that is the message that comes across from a book just published by the French botanist Francis Hallé, Du bon usage des arbres (Making good use of trees).
Solar cells
Solar feed-in tariff confusion continues as DECC prepares appeal
The government is preparing to appeal a High Court decision that branded its plans to rush through cuts to solar tariff payments as "legally flawed", leaving the industry in the dark over the current level of incentives for new solar installations.
Mandatory emissions reporting decision could be delayed further
Rules requiring companies to report on their greenhouse gas emissions look set to be delayed until later this year due to a bottleneck in the government's legislative process.
CLA writes to Huhne backing battle against climate change
The CLA has written to Secretary of State for Climate Change Chris Huhne explaining why European landowners support a 30 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions in the fight to mitigate climate change.
Scientists warn on damage to peatlands
Scientists have warned that damaged UK peatlands – areas formed over thousands of years from dead and decaying plants in waterlogged conditions – are a significant source of carbon dioxide.
20 inches to disaster: U.S. coasts unprepared for higher seas
Let's say the rise in sea level that climate change will bring us -- from melting ice caps and expanding seas -- won't be "all that bad" by, oh, the year 2080.
Warning coastal weather will be more extreme
A warning has been issued to New Zealand’s coastal centres, including Gisborne, that life in these places is going to be more troublesome because of a confirmed increase in extreme weather events, and other climate change impacts.
Belgium fears for its fragile coastline
Ostend residents no longer see the poetic side of the town's broad sandy beach, immortalised by the French singer Léo Ferré.
Climate change – our real bequest to future generations
It is remarkable how efforts to reduce the government deficit/debt are often portrayed as a generational issue, while efforts to reduce global warming are almost never framed in this way.
Climate change policy gets PM’s nod
Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has finally given a nod to the National Climate Change Policy ...
Climate change models may underestimate extinctions
Predictions of the loss of animal and plant diversity around the world are common under models of future climate change.
If carbon dioxide isn’t a worry, nitrous oxide could not possibly offer any threat... righ
As we all know, climate change is a conspiracy cooked up by charlatans - but if it weren't, we should be worrying about nitrogen, writes Steve Jones.