The USA rejoins the Paris climate accord

Late last year, Trump wrote an executive order to withdraw the USA from the Paris climate accord. Having long touted it as a bad deal for America (it wasn’t, each country agreed their own targets, they were not forced on the USA), but with little support for the cancellation, his only option was to cancel it by executive order as no legislative body would be willing to do so.

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So Donald Trump is no longer president of the United States – what is the likely impact in the country and around the world?

There have been many positive moves on the environmental situation around the world during the time with Trump – this despite Trump going against everything.

Under the presidential leadership of Joe Biden it appears that the USA will return to her fact-based logical approach to world problems. At home this means moving towards net zero emissions: power generation must cut its emissions to virtually zero in the next few decades, electric cars and solar panels must be supported very heavily in order to make these the only financially viable option and the USA must develop a sensible policy towards hunting and trophy imports, so that this is only done in a sustainable way and in parts of the world that have a population that can take it.

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Worldwide energy use during the covid epidemic has been 8% lower, saving roughly 128 gigatonnes of carbon

Cuts in emissions are almost always linked to problems with economies. Almost all dips in carbon emissions coincide with economic problems. These dips have always been followed with rapid increases in energy demands, as the dip ends. The current crisis is a fantastic opportunity to start the process of reducing are carbon emissions as a species. Some countries have invested heavily to make this happen other world leaders have been less forward-looking.

Good can come from this current epidemic, and if we are to halt rapid and devastating global warming, we must continue this trend, at this rate for a good number of years. Governments must make sure that efforts to restart economies, does not undo these cuts as a by-product.

Stopping Gibraltar’s macaque population from being damaged by COVID

The only free range population of primates (other than humans) to be found in Europe can be found on the small British territory of Gibraltar.

They scavenge food from humans, bringing them into close enough contact to catch COVID

Because this territory is small, there are not that many macaques in it, with only around 220 on the peninsula. Because their physiology is so similar to ours, they are capable of catching infections from us, so the population is being carefully monitored to see if it becomes infected.

One positive for the macaques has been the reduction in tourist numbers. Because there are so much fewer people around, the behaviour of these animals has returned to something far closer to their natural behaviour, including a great deal more time spent foraging for food rather than stealing it from unsuspecting tourists.

This change has also left far more time for grooming, an activity that in many primates populations is essentially the social glue that holds the group together. This change has also led to follow squabbling and fights between the animals. With tourist numbers likely to go back to former numbers when possible, Gibraltar authorities must look to find ways to stop this population returning to its bad habits of the past.

The stupidity of a “self-charging hybrid”

Toyota, Lexus and recently even Kia have been talking about their self charging hybrids -and how they are an advantage because they don’t need plugging in.

While slightly cheaper than electric cars , they can cost more than 75%, and you are left still having to pay for petrol.

Obviously they are not travelling for free, so where is this energy gained from and how far can it carry you?

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The Cheetah Family and Me: a review

The BBC (the UK public broadcaster) is starting off the year with a whole host of wonderful wildlife documentaries. The Cheetah Family and Me is a three-part documentary by Gordon Buchanan where he gets to know a number of wild cheetah – on foot. The episodes are filmed over a series of visits to Africa. This documentary is filmed in South Africa, a country with around a thousand cheetah remaining within its border, however cheetah tend to live at low densities in most reserves. The largest reserve South Africa one of the largest in Africa, the Kruger, has a population that ranges from around 100-350. Cheetah survive best out in smaller reserves, and on farmland around the country.

Gordon Buchanan gets to know the cheetahs so they allow him to get closer than people would normally get.
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Happy Christmas, happy new year: things to come

Apologies for the quiet over the Christmas break, it is harder to work effectively with children at home. We have been concentrating on other aspects of the site, which we are hoping will be able to go live soon.

For those who have browsed around the site, you are aware that the aim of the site is to simplify wild travel, and make sure that wild travel benefits the wild and those living in it.

To that end, one of the things I wanted to do was to create a wildlife sightings board. When you visit somewhere wild it is common to hire a guide. This is partly due to the need for a big high car, and partly due to the need for localized knowledge. However, in some parks such as Kruger, much of the park is passable in a normal car.

These sightings boards will allow you to note where you saw animals, both for future visitors knowledge, but also to allow you to be able to look at your sightings over your visit. This is likely to give you insight into behavior and habits of various animals.

We have focused on the ecotourism big 7, as well as smaller predators. We have added to these rarely seen nocturnal animals- while these may be rarely seen, a pattern to sightings may become clear. We have also added a selection of the least numerous antelope in each park- these are often highly particular about where they live, so having them on the sightings map will help people look in the right place.

We are hoping to go live with these sightings boards this evening, though further problems may occur. We have also written a simple android app for noting these sightings. While signal in the bush may not allow instant sending, it will be able to save for broadcast from the camp after your game drive.

I hope they are useful, and we can all return to travelling in the near future. Unfortunately for many wildernesses, they rely on tourists to make them financially viable. Do continue to look at the wild places list, we are continuing to add more. The in the shadow of mankind list (areas where land isnt set aside for explicit wildlife use) is also growing and we hope to add many more destinations over the next month or two.

The sightings board

Tim Welby

The Cantabrian bear population continues to go from strength to strength

Back in 2015, my family and I visited the area that Cantabrian bears live in (this is in patches along the North and west of Spain. I was excited to hear that the bear population had been growing well in the previous decade. Back in 2005 this bear population was estimated at 150 animals, by 2015 this number was thought to be around 250.

With a range back in the 1950s that extended from the Pyrenees all the way to northern Portugal, there is still much recovery to go, but if the last 15 years is an indication, this could take less time than one would thing

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Aston Martin and other car manufacturing companies are part of a group that have put forward another report trying to suggest electric cars damage the environment

How many times do we have to go through this? The ways to make fossil fuel cars better for the environment than electric ones, generally follow these instructions.

  1. Count up environmental costs of electric car manufacturing, roundup everywhere you can, assume the worst
  2. Forget to count up the carbon emissions of creating the fossil fuel car- usually about 80% of what an electric car emissions would be
  3. Don’t bother to count the emissions for extracting and transporting the fossil fuels that run the cars
  4. Assume that the electricity that the electric car runs on is the most dirty in the world
  5. Point at the result
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