The EPA in America is rolling back emissions standards for Mercury and other dangerous chemicals for power plants

The EPA continues to work against its own name as an Environmental Protection Agency, by doing things that categorically do not protect the environment.

Under Obama there were many new rules that improved the Environmental standards in the USA. One of these was a substantial reduction in the amount of mercury other chemicals hazardous to human health.

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Has the coronavirus killed the Wuhan wet market? Well not exactly

The uproar over the way animals were kept in the market and the clear knowledge that the market caused the human pandemic has forced the Chinese government to act.

There is a new law being enacted which bans the sale of meat particularly bat meat in the market, which alone has the potential to save 50 to 100 million animals a year.

Unfortunately though this will not not extend to stop in the slaughter of animals as fur sales will be allowed. 

This seems to be rather foolish as it is not the eating of the animals that give people coronavirus but the fact of the animals all squashed into a smaller space in contact with one another and humans. As such while it is fantastic that so many animals will be spared from being eaten, there are likely to be many million that are killed for their fur, which means the likelihood of a future pandemic emerging from the same market is high. 

The simple fact is that there is inherent risk harvesting wild animals. This runs from the simple facts that there are too many humans and therefore any meat that becomes popular is likely to pushing the species to local extension, to the fact that harvesting of wild species is likely to regularly cause illnesses to jump into the human population and the fact that when we take out a species from an ecosystem we don’t know the impact that it’s likely to happen and regularly this can turn out to be rather dramatic leading to ecosystem collapse and a loss of all the other human services that it provides.

Wild boar numbers have spiked in France during the coronavirus shut down

In France boar are shot by hunters, and the hunters are paid by farmers so that the damage done to their crops is kept under control. Over the last five years the number for has increased dramatically and it’s now thought they are about 2 million within the borders of France.

Wild boar numbers in France have increased

This is partly down to the fact that warmer temperatures are meaning that there is more food for mothers and their young and less harsh Winters to kill off some of the boar.  This combined with the fact that boar can have 3 litters every 2 years, and they can have 10 young in a litter or on occasion even more, leads to the ability for an exploding population.

Boar are also killed in their thousands by high speed cars and trains, but these have been greatly reduced during the shutdown as well.

The rooting behaviour of boar can destroy large areas of crops rapidly. Also the wheat and other crops that boar will eat when they can are often bordered by pine forests, which are perfect places for them to shelter.

One hunter gave his own recent statistics as a demonstration, saying in the past that he would kill one or perhaps two during a season. But he said that last year while he only killed two during hunts, opportunistic kills of animals he encountered when in the car bought this number up to 17.

The farming associations are on the hook when numbers go too high, as it is their job to control boar numbers when they rise they pay the compensation claims which in 2019 accounted for 60 million euro, a law which they feel is increasingly unfair are particularly as under current circumstances they can’t do anything about it as they are stuck inside.

It is still my view that in the long term France as the UK needs predators who will control these populations rather than human hunters to do the job. A healthy population wolves bears and lynx would take a significant number of humbugs (baby boar) each year if given the chance.

A benefit of Covid-19? Might it save the pangolin?

The pangolin is a creature that until a few years ago was known by next to no one in the world. Although found in a surprisingly large range of habitats they are often nocturnal and so in many parts of their habitats seen rarely. Many of the wildlife guides in the Kruger have never seen one and a sighting is something to be savoured. Indeed recently when when a doctoral student went out to study pangolins it took more than six months for them to see the first one.

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The EPA in America is Rolling Back emissions standards for Mercury and other dangerous chemicals for power plants

The EPA continues to work against its own name as an Environmental Protection Agency, by doing things that categorically do not protect the environment.

Under Obama there were many new rules that improved the Environmental standards in the USA. One of these was a substantial reduction in the amount of mercury other chemicals hazardous to human health.

What is stupid about this move is that the coal power plants have spent billions of pounds across the country putting in these contractions to remove the Mercury and other hazardous materials on their smokestacks.

The money has been spent and the work has been done- who precisely does this benefit. As if to underline this question, 2 months ago the utilities in America came out publicly and stated they were against the rollback of mercury emission standards in the USA.

The unions, business groups and electric power plants are all against this move. In their wording they are removing the requirement to be appropriate and necessary for the government to regulate harmful chemicals.

It really is getting to the point where the EPA must be renamed, as it no longer has anything to do with protecting the environment and seemed merely to be there to make business easier.

Americans should be furious about this as Donald Trump has once again come out and said quite clearly he doesn’t care about the health of the people of the country he runs. There is a chance this year to remove Donald Trump and stop him damaging the environment any more- Americans must take this opportunity, anything is better than this.

Bolsonaro has decided to open up 38000 square miles of Amazon rain forest indigenous reserves to outsiders

The latest move by Brazil’s president, while expected, goes against all of Brazil’s past agreements. Indigenous lands were given back- they are not a gift from the Brazilian government. Indigenous people have lived in the Brazilian rainforest for millennia longer than Europeans have been in South America. 

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As the number of mountain gorillas passes above 1000 for the first time in a very long time we have to worry about their future survival

Recent census of the Mountain gorillas between the two remaining areas of habitat counted 1063, a number that has risen from perhaps only 350 in the 1980s. The idea of a critically endangered growing by 300% in population size in only 40 years is incredible. 

Male Mountain gorilla
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Belgium has its own Wolf population

Belgium appears to have its own permanent wolf population as the French and the German wolf population recombine for the first time in over a century

Wild wolf

The spread of wolves across Europe is something that has been championed by many over the last couple of decades. Having spread read back into Western Europe after the Iron Curtain came down they have established populations in almost every country.

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