Milk is an important part of the diet of many people in the west, alongside other dairy products. It has, in recent years been one of the problems: while many people have cut down on eating beef, far fewer has cut down on dairy – but now, if you do not eat beef, you can stop supporting dairy farmers all together.
This is not to say that dairy farmers are bad. Governments need to create different careers and paths for these people to take out of their current work.
Grey wolves from Oregon now appear to be thriving in California (where they disappeared from about 100 years ago).
Wolves have never been reintroduced to California, instead they were returned to Yellowstone, re-entered Oregan back in 1999, and then entered California in 2008.
Short of a sudden sustained assault on their numbers, they are back in California and are likely to multiply over the next few decades to take back up their position as apex predators. This should not be feared in any way, with sensible management, it could end up benefiting California, with healthier ecosystems, less car crashes caused by wildlife amongst many other benefits.
It is true, Wolves are hunters. More than that, they are incredibly successful hunters. They work as a team, have incredible endurance and a very high level of intelligence. This is perhaps why in the last few centuries their numbers have been greatly depleted.
In places like western Europe and the USA, they were close to extinction as a whole and had become locally extinct in much of their range. So is this fear mongering reasonable? Of course not.
Here she is talking about wolves in Colorado. She quoted figures of 500 attacks from 2002- the present, and stated that 30 people died in this time – scary numbers indeed. However, she was instantly fact-checked – those were the number of attacks around the world not just in the USA, only 1 death occurred there.
Of course, every death is sad, but to put it in perspective, each year 175-200 people die as a result of their car colliding with a deer. So over the same period, there were 3500-4000 car deaths as a result of deer – and wolf presence greatly reduces this, both by reducing the deer numbers, and creating a climate of fear, which makes deer stay away from open spaces, and so cross roads far less often.
2200 polar bears live on the west coast of Greenland. It is unknown how many live on the east coast, but this group appears to be living in a place where they were formerly thought incapable of surviving.
The African savannah elephant has declined by 60% over the last 50 years, and the African forest elephant has declined by 86% over the last 31 years.
So how close are these species to disappearing? There are currently 415,000african elephants in the wild, spread across 23 countries.
Unfortunately, their situation is highly different on different parts of the continent. Botswana still supports 130,000 Savanah elephants, while Tanzania lost 60% of their elephants between 2009 and 2014 (though some reserves till have healthy populations), one place hit particularly hard was the Selous which 40 years ago had over 150,000 and currently hosts 15,000 elephants.
While the African forest elephant was only recognized as a separate species in 2021 (there has been much argument about its status), what is not in question is its horrific decline in numbers. Indeed finding a web page that gives you an accurate figure is hard work, This may well because one does not exist. There has been horrific population declines over recent years, and the density is incredibly varied across its range.
Unfortunately one thing is clear, in areas of the Congo rainforest where elephants have lost, the forest does less well. There are many plant species which rely on elephants to carry their seeds from from where they are dropped. As such, without forest elephants we are likely to loose many species of trees – to the extent that it might threaten the survival of the Congo rainforest itself.
So how are Asiatic elephants doing? Unfortunately not great. There are 5 subspecies
First, the Indian elephant. This is the best known and most wide spread. Currently their Indian population is thought to be between 27,000 and 31,000, with between 10,000 and 14,000 across another 10 countries. While I am listing 4 subspecies these all look relatively similar.
Borneo elephant – the most positive estimate, suggests that there are 1500 remaining in the rainforests of Borneo
Sumatran elephant 2400-2800
Sri Lankan elephant 7500
Syrian elephant – this species was lost as much as 1000 years ago, and occupied the western most part of the Asiatic elephant range.
As such what is clear, is that while African elephant populations are falling fast there is time to check this decline. The Asiatic elephant populations are far more in danger.
In the UK, it has been shown that at every solar farm looked at, there were more species, from insects such as butterflies, to mammals such as hares do well.
I would argue that these areas are not as good as reserves, but it is still a positive benefit. Indeed, it is conceivable that if wolves and bears returned to the UK, these sites could be fantastic for these animals.
The wildlife of Indonesia now often looks like relatively unique to those islands. This is not the natural state of affairs. 60,000 years ago, a cousin of the orangutan lived on the mainland. Unfortunately, what appears clear, is that humans were responsible for the extinction of these animals as with so many more.
There are 2 species of Indonesian Rhino, the Javan rhino and the Sumatran rhino. Now it should be noted that these names are not an indication of a small range (or if it is, it is wrong) in reality, both rhino species were far more widely spread. Indeed mainland specimens lived within the 21st century.
A report has calculated that the reintroduction of 9 species would do so much benefit to the ecosystems that they are found in, that these reintroductions would help us to keep global warming to 1.5° C.
While some of these would require human adaption, many would have benefits far beyond climate change.
Hopefully a handful of videos will drop in the next few days, with an attempt to raise our profile so that we can do what we set off to do.
Our first week was spent down in Devon, near one of the beaver lodges. Interestingly, the guide I reached out to stated that they did not operate this early in the year, as the beavers emerge to late in the evening. We decided to go down late in the week, anyway, on the off-chance. In actual fact we spent a couple of hours each evening down on the river with wild beavers in front of us for a significant part of the time.
Beaver watching is great for both adults and children. While the beavers return is incredibly good for the future of British ecosystems, it can also have direct impacts for humans. It is true that for most farms (largely all those not based on a flood plain) they gain more from the presence of the beavers, in terms of reduced flooding, water table management and increased insect health (for pollination).
We are building our beaver watching page up further, do take a look