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


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Wildlife 
Bird of prey poisoning at 6-year low in Scotland
The number of birds of prey being illegally poisoned in Scotland has fallen to its lowest level since 2006, new figures have revealed.
Twitchers flock together for rare warbler
A rare tiny bird roused ‘twitchers’ from their weekend slumbers after it travelled thousands of miles and landed in a Worcester garden.
Oil beetle populations in decline
Buglife today announce the results of the National Oil Beetle Survey. The alarming results indicate oil beetle population decline across many parts of the UK, especially in the East of the country.
Horse mussels fine from Europe could be £8m
Northern Ireland taxpayers have moved closer to footing a £8m fine from Europe.
Agriculture minister says badger cull is possibility
The Department of Agriculture is not ruling out a badger cull in Northern Ireland to help control the spread of tuberculosis amongst cattle herds.
Exposed: the barbaric gangs who torture and kill badgers
The cruel thugs, believed to be from Belfast, were secretly photographed as they attacked an active badger sett at an undisclosed location in Northern Ireland.
NFU: Cull estimates are ‘significant exaggeration’
Fears that a badger cull in England could wipe out whole populations of badgers have been dismissed by the NFU.
Badgers have always defied the odds
The dead badger on the roadside last week started me thinking about these enigmatic mammals which still seem to hold their own, despite the pressures of the modern countryside.
Clash of the crayfish: why the Americans are winning
Aggressive American signal crayfish are threatening Yorkshire's native white-clawed crayfish populations because they have better resistance to parasites and are less fussy about what they eat.
Landscape structure influences pollinator movements and directly affects plant reproductive success
Pollinators play a key role within most terrestrial communities in maintaining plant populations, as well as pollinating many agricultural crops for seed and fruit production.
Plants "remember" drought to prepare
Plants can "remember" drought and change responses to the stress to survive, a finding that could lead to more drought-resistant crops, U.S. researchers say.
Killer whales in Newfoundland Bay
IWDG confirm two records of a pair of killer whales within an eight day interval, close to Barry's Head, Newfoundland Bay, c4 miles east of Kinsale, Co. Cork on both 5th and 13th March 2012.
Prongwort discovery 'unique' to the Highlands
A nature reserve in the Scottish Highlands is the only place in the world where a type of liverwort plant has been found growing.
British Isles
Mynydd y Gwair
Appeal court backs Swansea wind farm plan block
A power company has been ordered to rethink plans for a wind farm on a peat bog north of Swansea.
Powys council opposes wind farms for Llanbadarn Fynydd and Carnedd Wen
Powys council says it will formally object to two large wind farm applications due to be decided on by the UK government.
Enough wind farms in Highlands by 2017?
There could be enough wind farms built in the Highlands by 2017, councillors have been warned.
Wind turbine decision criticised
A decision to allow four large wind turbines close to a "unique" Elizabethan garden undermines protection of heritage sites, the National Trust has warned.
U.K. renewable energy push may prevent electricity crisis
The U.K. is heading for power blackouts within five years unless Prime Minister David Cameron devises a better strategy to build new nuclear plants, the former government’s chief scientific adviser said.
Weymouth reserve to stay wild
A wildlife haven of Weymouth has been saved from the threat of building development.
Heather seeds sown over old A3 at Hindhead
The final stage of returning the route of the old A3 to nature is getting under way in Surrey.
Planning for a sustainable future
This joint non government organisation letter about the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is published today in The Times (page 25).
Seeds of change for wildlife
Specialist seed company, Kings Game Cover and Conservation Crops and wildlife research charity, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, will be working in partnership over the next three years to develop a range of improved wildlife crops that will maximise their benefit for farmland wildlife.
£20m Steart wildlife plan wins go-ahead
A spectacular £20million wildlife habitat will be built on the Steart Peninsula after planners gave the scheme the green light.
'No fishing zones' call as Bill hits Assembly
‘No take’ zones are crucial if Northern Ireland’s rich marine wildlife is to be protected ...
Drought-hit England announces first wave of emergency measures
The first emergency measures to support the drought-hit south of England were announced today in an attempt to preserve dwindling water supplies.
Environment Agency Wales water supply complacency warning
Wales should avoid being too complacent about its water supply levels, the Environment Agency Wales (EAW) has warned.
Global
Conservation group claims koala numbers fudged
The Australian Koala Foundation has accused the state government of "appalling science" to bolster koala numbers in its latest koala population survey so it would not lose koala planning control to the federal government.
Plateau must be protected
Sir Alan Mark and Rod Morris say the Denniston Plateau is too precious a treasure trove to disturb with opencast mining and must be protected for its unique heritage values.
Unusual pine beetle breeding could explain tree epidemic
A new study has found that some populations of mountain pine beetles are producing two generations of tree-killing offspring each year, a phenomenon that may help explain the scale of damage being done to vast tracts of lodgepole and ponderosa pines across western North America.
Bat-killing disease spreading south
A bat-killing disease that has wiped out nearly 7 million bats across the eastern United States is spreading southward, wildlife officials said this week after detecting white-nose syndrome in Alabama.
New frog species found hiding in NYC
Scientists say they have found a new type of frog living in New York City.
Oil sands, biodiversity, transparency & accountability
With the launch of the Oil Sands Leadership Initiative (OSLI) this month, there is a new commitment by the companies developing Canada’s oil sands to address the environmental impacts of their operations.
Global flower trade threatens rare palm
Demand for leaves from an endangered palm, found in Central and South America, is threatening the species' long term survival, a study warns.
Hummingbirds take no notice of flower colour
Hummingbirds pay no attention to what colour a flower is when figuring out whether to raid it for nectar, the latest research suggests.
Two twice ‘extinct’ trees rediscovered in coastal Tanzania
Scientists have confirmed the rediscovery of two tree species that were feared to have become extinct twice, according to a report published in the Journal of East African Natural History.
Weaver ants use corporate memory to defend nests
Weaver ant colonies use shared memory to sniff out rivals, similar to sports fans recognising each other by their team colours.
Rising ocean temperatures harm protected coral reefs
Special conservation zones known as marine protected areas provide many direct benefits to fisheries and coral reefs.
IAEA ‘concerned’ about world’s ageing nuclear plants
Eighty percent of the world's nuclear power plants are more than 20 years old, raising safety concerns, a draft UN report says a year after Japan’s Fukushima disaster.
Save the Danube
The “Kopacki Rit”, Croatia, Danube’s most valuable and best preserved floodplain system along the Croatian – Serbian border is threatened with destruction.
Climate
Arctic
Met Office: Arctic sea-ice loss linked to colder, drier UK winters
The reduction in Arctic sea ice caused by climate change is playing a role in the UK's recent colder and drier winter weather, according to the Met Office.
Australia to become hotter, drier: climate report
Australia's climate is warming at an alarming rate and is set to become drier despite recent record floods, scientists said in a report that warns of increased drought and fiercer storms.
Record La Nina linked to climate change
Three of the nation's leading climate scientists have linked the past two years of record wet weather to climate change in their strongest findings yet on the impact of global warming on the nation's climate.
An early spring drives butterfly population declines
Early snow melt in the Colorado Rocky Mountains initiates two chains of events resulting in population decline in the mormon fritillary butterfly, Speyeria mormonia.
Emissions set to surge 50 pct by 2050: OECD
Global greenhouse gas emissions could rise 50 percent by 2050 without more ambitious climate policies, as fossil fuels continue to dominate the energy mix, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Thursday.
UN aviation body mulls responsibilities in carbon dispute
The United Nations body that oversees civil aviation has asked a working group to keep examining options to address emissions from aviation, but there is already conflict on the roles to be played by developed and developing countries, according to one official who attended a top-level meeting on Wednesday.
Coal-reliant Poland increasingly out of step with Europe on climate
Frustrations with Poland are growing in the European Union after the coal-powered nation for a second time blocked the EU’s long-term plans for cutting carbon emissions.
Scientists use Thoreau's journal notes to track climate change
Fittingly for a man seen as the first environmentalist, Henry David Thoreau, who described his isolated life in 1840s Massachusetts in the classic of American literature Walden, is now helping scientists pin down the impacts of climate change.
Impacts of climate change on the future of biodiversity
Many studies in recent years have investigated the effects of climate change on the future of biodiversity.
Atmospheric CO2 levels hit 800,000-year high: CSIRO
Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are now higher than at any time in the last 800,000 years, while the last decade in Australia was the warmest on record, CSIRO scientists say.