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Author: Giles

The last Tsar’s undiscovered Russian jewel

The last Tsar’s undiscovered Russian jewel

Russia’s tumultuous history includes one legacy little known outside its borders—a vast system of protected lands that conservationists have fought for decades to study and protect. Some are so remote and guarded that few of Russia’s own citizens have ever stepped foot in them. A century ago, in one of its last acts before the Russian empire collapsed in the 1917 revolution, Tsar Nicholas II officially set aside land near Siberia’s Lake Baikal for Russia’s first “zapovednik”, or strict nature…

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Reintroducing beavers to the UK could help stop flooding

Reintroducing beavers to the UK could help stop flooding

Reintroducing beavers to Britain could help clean up rivers, prevent flooding and minimise soil loss, an expert has claimed. Professor Richard Brazier, a researcher at the University of Exeter, has said unpublished preliminary results from a trial area in Devon showed muddy water entering an area where the creatures were living was three times cleaner when it left. In England, several Bavarian beavers unofficially let loose on to the river Otter in east Devon are now part of an official trial licensed by…

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Australia’s marine parks plan cuts protected areas

Australia’s marine parks plan cuts protected areas

The Australian federal government’s draft marine parks plan is set to slash protected marine areas. The plans propose that large areas of Queensland’s Coral Sea, as well as off the coast of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and New South Wales, will lose or have their protection downgraded, to make way for expanded long-line fishing and seafloor trawling – which have been shown to damage the conservation value of the oceans. The plans propose dividing marine parks into three types…

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Changing your eating habits can save animals from extinction

Changing your eating habits can save animals from extinction

Livestock causes 10 times more deforestation than the palm oil industry but seems to get less media attention. While the human population has doubled since 1970, the number of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians have dropped by more than half. At its root is widespread environmental destruction as a result of our growth as a species and increasing food consumption to sustain ourselves. Recent research suggests transforming large swaths of forest into farmland could render almost one-third of local wildlife extinct….

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Bristol based refill-reuse bottle campaign spreading across Europe

Bristol based refill-reuse bottle campaign spreading across Europe

Natalie Fee, 38, is the driving force behind City to Sea which has launched a campaign that aims to cut the millions of plastic bottles that end up in the world’s oceans each year. The Refill campaign persuades businesses to sign up to a scheme allowing people to refill their water bottles on their premises rather than throw them away. A Refill app shows which businesses nearby are happy to fill water bottles. The app offers reward points when people fill up their…

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EU takes Poland to court over logging Europe’s last primeval forest

EU takes Poland to court over logging Europe’s last primeval forest

The European Commission will take Poland to court in a bid to curb a surge in logging in the last significant tract of primeval forest left in Europe. The EU has asked the European court to authorise an immediate ban on logging in Poland’s Białowieża forest. Around 80,000 cubic metres of forest have been cleared since the Polish government tripled logging operations around the Unesco world heritage site in March 2016. Białowieża is a biodiversity hotspot and the largest remaining patch of a primeval forest…

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Endangered Asian softshell turtles return to the wild in Cambodia

Endangered Asian softshell turtles return to the wild in Cambodia

As part of a community protection programme that began in 2007, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), in collaboration with Cambodia’s Fisheries Administration and the Turtle Survival Alliance, has released over 150 endangered Asian giant softshell turtle hatchlings into their natural habitat along the Mekong River, Cambodia. The Asian giant softshell turtle is listed on the IUCN Red List as globally endangered. They were thought extinct in the Cambodian portion of the Mekong River until their re-discovery in 2007 in a…

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Lynx set to return to UK after 1,300 years

Lynx set to return to UK after 1,300 years

After 1,300 years, the lynx could be set to return to British woodlands within months after plans were submitted to reintroduce the species. The Lynx UK Trust has announced it will apply for a trial reintroduction for six lynx into the Kielder forest, Northumberland, following a two-year consultation process with local stakeholders. In the UK, the lynx was hunted to extinction for its fur. The enigmatic cat can grow to 1.5m in length and feeds almost exclusively by ambushing deer. The group chose the…

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The refugee building houses from plastic bottles

The refugee building houses from plastic bottles

Every year, about half a trillion new plastic bottles are produced, and many billions end up in a landfill, the sea or the environment. Although one of the best solutions would be to find an alternative to plastic bottles, which can be used on a wide scale, one man is doing something productive with the plastic problem. Tateh Breica, a Sahrawi refugee living in a camp in Tindouf, Algeria, is building homes for other refugees out of plastic bottles filled…

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Eastern Cougar’s extinction inconclusive

Eastern Cougar’s extinction inconclusive

By Flora McCarthy In 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) – a U.S. federal agency responsible for wildlife protection – finally declared that the Eastern Cougar was extinct. In fact, after conducting a four-year review, the FWS declared that the species had been extinct since the 1930s (official reports say that the last eastern cougar was killed in 1938 by a hunter in Maine). The cat was removed from the agency’s list of endangered species. The eastern cougar…

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