Wolves, Bears and white tailed eagles are making great comebacks across Europe and other species are also doing well

Wolf numbers have increased by 1800% since the 1970s with a total of over 17,000 now inhabiting the continent. Bears started from a less precarious place, but have still increased by 44% over the same period

While wolves were missing for some time from France, they are well and truly back and we who share the space must recognize that and adapt

Among herbivores, beavers are one of the big success story (and unlike many of the others are living in the UK once again in large numbers in a series of populations from Devon right up to Scotland.

EU blocks uplifting the Hippopotamus to an Appendix 1 endangered animal from an Appendix 2

Hippopotamus populations have declined by 30-50% over the last decade. This is an animal which is moving fast in the direction of extinction, yet despite a plea from 10 african countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Gabon, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo) to move them to appendix 1 has been blocked.

Hippopotamus are often easy to find on Safari, as they are usually found in the few deep pools and rivers that exist. They can be very dangerous if you are between them and the water, and roam widely in and out of protected reserves. This is the most common view for people who visit a national park
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Soy cultivation can expand in Brazil, by one third without cutting down another tree – by taking over unused grazing land

There is a constant tug of war, between developed countries which are encouraging developing countries to continue to protect their wildernesses, and the developing countries wish to be able to develop – to lift their citizens out of poverty.

In one shot: soy farming at the front, rainforest behind and you can see cattle grazing areas at the back

In one shot: Soy cultivation at the front, standing rainforest is next and in the back you can see areas of cattle grazing
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Wolves continue their spread in France, now department of Lot

The most recent estimate, puts the French wolf population on about 620 in the country. They have recently moved into the department of Lot which lies just a few miles north of Toulouse.

wolves are now spreading in France, and without a huge effort the animal is back to stay. This is the first photo of a wild wolf in northern France since 1913

Given the growing population of wolves in France, it would be ridiculous to kill these wolves, as others will replace them pretty quickly.

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Dealing with invasive Wallabies in New Zealand

New Zealand has no native land mammals. There are mammals that swim to new Zealand, or indeed that fly there, but all the land mammals are non native. Unfortunately with no mammals there are also no predators to control, it is also unfortunately true that in most cases introduced predators take the native flightless birds far more than the non-native mammals.

There are currently thought to be millions of wallabies living free on both of New Zealand. Finally pest control have started to try to deal with these. One pest controller can kill 100 wallabies in a good night. As elsewhere, these wallabies are causing problems, causing local plants to die and get pushed towards extinction.

It is estimated that by 2025 the cost to New Zealand could be costing $84 million a year in damaged ecosystems and lost agricultural revenue.

Guard dogs to save Namibian Cheetah?

While the Cheetah has suffered a horrific fall in range and numbers in the world over the last century, there are some hopes for the species.

Cheetah are not big cats- this means that they often struggle to thrive in small reserves alongside other big cats. What this has meant is that in many countries there are more cheetah outside reserves than inside reserves. This is primarily the case in Southern Africa, in particular Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe where the most free ranging cheetah currently live. To a lesser extent, there are also free ranging cheetah in east Africa in Tanzania and Kenya.

Can the sheep dog be the solution to livestock losses from cheetah? A study in Namibia suggests it may
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Pine marten sighted on the edge of London and recovering in other parts of England

Pine martens are an arboreal hunter. It is native to Europe, stretching into Asia in areas such as Iran and Syria. It is also a native part of the UK ecosystem. Unfortunately, as an arboreal predator the pine marten was horrifically reduced in the UK by the destruction of our rainforests. What few animals continued to survive in fragments of forest left behind, have been persecuted by farmers for their habits of taking chickens and similar animals.

This is why this sighting of a pine marten on the edge of London is so exciting.

This pine marten was spotted on a camera trap set up to monitor Hedgehog numbers in the area. To get a picture of a pine marten on the edge of London is very exciting
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UK government changes rules for farmers: now allow killing beavers?

Beavers have returned to the UK in the last couple of decades. Becoming extinct in the 16th century, Beavers were an important part of the UK ecosystem.

Beavers are incredible engineers. They build large pools, held back by dams, as well as canals running in many directions. One of the biggest bonuses of this behaviour, is to slow the speed that water has as it runs back into rivers and eventually the sea. This means that in areas where beavers exist, there remains plenty of water even in times during the year when there is little rain. The beaver pools are also fantastic for wildlife, from fish fry, to vast quantities of insects – which can increase farmers yields by pollinating the crops.

So what is the problem? Well, in many places in the country, farmers are now farming on low grade land, and some of this will be lost.

Given that beavers have only been in the UK for about 15 years, and the population only numbers a few thousand at most (while some populations like in Devon numbering in the hundreds or even approaching one thousand), in most of the country they are incredibly rare. Lethal methods of control should very rarely be required. In the vast majority of cases, the beavers should be worked around as the benefits they bring even to the farm are usually greater than the problems they cause. In the rare occasion where the beaver needs to be removed, then it is not necessary to kill it, with the numbers of beavers still so far below the carrying capacity of the UK, it would be relatively simple to catch it and to move it to a river which does not yet have enough.

While it may be cheaper in the short term, for both the farmer and the government, shooting the beaver is unlikely to deal with the problem. In many instances, it will not be long before another beaver takes up the area, which means that the problem is likely to occur again, furthermore, apart from the benefits for the local farm, the beavers behaviour has wider positive impacts.

If the government was to fund nature trusts in each county to help in this work, the price could be kept incredibly low, and the countries environment would benefit greatly

Uninvited black bear crashes party in Connecticut

American Black bears are far and away the most numerous bear in the world by some margin. It is thought that at least 800,000 American black bears still roam the continental north America – though the closely related Asiatic black bear has a far smaller population of about 50,000 spread across south-eastern Asia and is therefore far more endangered (the spectacled bear is also thought to be relatively closely related).

In America, black bears are relatively common sites where they are found.

While black bears are not found everywhere in the USA they are pretty widespread
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